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Neuroscience

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Wiring the Brain: Rapid Formation of Central Synapses

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Formation of synaptic contacts in the central nervous system proceeds remarkably fast. It takes less than two hours between initial contact between axon and its target neuron and the establishment of a functional synapse.

Which of the following contributes to such rapid pace of synaptogenesis in the central nervous system?

A

Significant parts of synapses are already present in an axon and postsynaptic neuron in the preassembled form. They get rapidly recruited and inserted into the membrane following initial contact between prospective presynapse and postsynapse.

B

Central synapses are incredibly small structures, which explains why it takes so much less time to build them compared to larger peripheral synapses such as the neuromuscular junction.

C

Axons and postsynaptic cells are pre-patterned, e.g., membranes of presynaptic cells contain areas with higher concentration of transmitter receptors. These will be future postsynaptic sites where already concentrated receptors will become permanently clustered.

D

It is just the way it is. The whole mouse brain develops in about 10 days, so there just is not enough time to procrastinate and take longer than one to two hours to form a synapse.