During synaptogenesis, presynaptic and postsynaptic assembly are driven by diverse molecular mechanisms, mediated by intrinsic as well as extrinsic factors. How these processes are initiated and coordinated are open questions. Synapse specificity, or synaptic partner selection, is widely understood to be determined by the trans-synaptic binding of cell adhesion molecules. However, in vivo evidence that cell adhesion molecules subsequently function to initiate synapse assembly, as initially proposed, is lacking. Here, we present a summary of our current understanding of synaptogenic pathways that mediate presynaptic and postsynaptic assembly and the coordination of these processes.
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