Cell adhesion molecules regulating astrocyte-neuron interactions.
A tripartite synapse comprises a neuronal presynaptic axon and a postsynaptic dendrite, which are closely ensheathed by a perisynaptic astrocyte process. Through their structural and functional association with thousands of neuronal synapses, astrocytes regulate synapse formation and function. Recent work revealed a diverse range of cell adhesion-based mechanisms that mediate astrocyte-synapse interactions at tripartite synapses. Here, we will review some of these findings unveiling a highly dynamic bidirectional signaling between astrocytes and synapses, which orchestrates astrocyte morphological maturation and synapse development. Moreover, we will discuss the roles of these newly discovered molecular pathways in brain physiology and function both in health and disease.
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