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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 498957, 13 pages
Review Article

The Interplay between Synaptic Activity and Neuroligin Function in the CNS

Department of Neurobiology, Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology of Ministry of Health, Zhejiang Province Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058, China

Received 11 December 2014; Revised 12 February 2015; Accepted 23 February 2015

Academic Editor: Yeon-Kyun Shin

Copyright © 2015 Xiaoge Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuroligins (NLs) are postsynaptic transmembrane cell-adhesion proteins that play a key role in the regulation of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies have suggested that NLs contribute to synapse formation and synaptic transmission. Consistent with their localization, NL1 and NL3 selectively affect excitatory synapses, whereas NL2 specifically affects inhibitory synapses. Deletions or mutations in NL genes have been found in patients with autism spectrum disorders or mental retardations, and mice harboring the reported NL deletions or mutations exhibit autism-related behaviors and synapse dysfunction. Conversely, synaptic activity can regulate the phosphorylation, expression, and cleavage of NLs, which, in turn, can influence synaptic activity. Thus, in clinical research, identifying the relationship between NLs and synapse function is critical. In this review, we primarily discuss how NLs and synaptic activity influence each other.