Synapses are specialized communication junctions between neurons whose plasticity provides the structural and functional basis for information processing and storage in the brain. Recent biochemical, genetic and imaging studies in diverse model systems are beginning to reveal the molecular mechanisms by which synaptic vesicles, ion channels, receptors and other synaptic components assemble to make a functional synapse. Recent evidence has shown that the formation and function of synapses are critically regulated by the liprin-α family of scaffolding proteins. The liprin-αs have been implicated in pre- and post-synaptic development by recruiting synaptic proteins and regulating synaptic cargo transport. Here, we will summarize the diversity of liprin binding partners, highlight the factors that control the function of liprin-αs at the synapse and discuss how liprin-α family proteins regulate synapse formation and synaptic transmission.

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