Gap junctions underlie electrical synaptic transmission between neurons. Generally perceived as simple intercellular channels, “electrical synapses” have demonstrated to be more functionally sophisticated and structurally complex than initially anticipated. Electrical synapses represent an assembly of multiple molecules, consisting of channels, adhesion complexes, scaffolds, regulatory machinery, and trafficking proteins, all required for their proper function and plasticity. Additionally, while electrical synapses are often viewed as strictly symmetric structures, emerging evidence has shown that some components forming electrical synapses can be differentially distributed at each side of the junction. We propose that the molecular complexity and asymmetric distribution of proteins at the electrical synapse provides rich potential for functional diversity.
- electrical synapse
- gap junction
- synapse formation and plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience