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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8081758, 25 pages
Review Article

Emerging Synaptic Molecules as Candidates in the Etiology of Neurological Disorders

1Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
2Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
3Centro de Excelencia en Biomedicina de Magallanes (CEBIMA), Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile

Correspondence should be addressed to Nibaldo C. Inestrosa; lc.cup.oib@asortsenin

Received 14 October 2016; Accepted 6 February 2017; Published 26 February 2017

Academic Editor: Tiziana Borsello

Copyright © 2017 Viviana I. Torres 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.


Synapses are complex structures that allow communication between neurons in the central nervous system. Studies conducted in vertebrate and invertebrate models have contributed to the knowledge of the function of synaptic proteins. The functional synapse requires numerous protein complexes with specialized functions that are regulated in space and time to allow synaptic plasticity. However, their interplay during neuronal development, learning, and memory is poorly understood. Accumulating evidence links synapse proteins to neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we describe the way in which several proteins that participate in cell adhesion, scaffolding, exocytosis, and neurotransmitter reception from presynaptic and postsynaptic compartments, mainly from excitatory synapses, have been associated with several synaptopathies, and we relate their functions to the disease phenotype.