Activity-dependent regulation of synaptic clustering in a hippocampal culture system

Ege T. Kavalali, Jürgen Klingauf, Richard W. Tsien

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109 Scopus citations


Currently, there is a limited understanding of the factors that influence the localization and density of individual synapses in the central nervous system. Here we have studied the effects of activity on synapse formation between hippocampal dentate granule cells and CA3 pyramidal neurons in culture, taking advantage of FM1-43 as a fluorescent marker of synaptic boutons. We observed an early tendency for synapses to group together, quickly followed by the appearance of synaptic clusters on dendritic processes. These events were strongly influenced by N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor- and cyclic AMP-dependent signaling. The microstructure and localization of the synaptic clusters resembled that found in hippocampus, at mossy fiber synapses of stratum lucidum. Activity-dependent clustering of synapses represents a means for synaptic targeting that might contribute to synaptic organization in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12893-12900
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 26 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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