Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Scaffolds: Dynamics Fast and Slow.
Ziv NE, Fisher-Lavie A.
The development of methods to follow the dynamics of synaptic molecules in living neurons has radically altered our view of the synapse, from that of a generally static structure to that of a dynamic molecular assembly at steady state. This view holds not only for relatively labile synaptic components, such as synaptic vesicles, cytoskeletal elements, and neurotransmitter receptors, but also for the numerous synaptic molecules known as scaffolding molecules, a generic name for a diverse class of molecules that organize synaptic function in time and space. Recent studies reveal that these molecules, which confer a degree of stability to synaptic assemblies over time scales of hours and days, are themselves subject to significant dynamics. Furthermore, these dynamics are probably not without effect; wherever studied, these seem to be associated with spontaneous changes in scaffold molecule content, synaptic size, and possibly synaptic function. This review describes the dynamics exhibited by synaptic scaffold molecules, their typical time scales, and the potential implications to our understanding of synaptic function.