Astrocytes mediate synapse elimination through MEGF10 and MERTK pathways

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To achieve its precise neural connectivity, the developing mammalian nervous system undergoes extensive activity-dependent synapse remodelling. Recently, microglial cells have been shown to be responsible for a portion of synaptic pruning, but the remaining mechanisms remain unknown. Here we report a new role for astrocytes in actively engulfing central nervous system synapses. This process helps to mediate synapse elimination, requires the MEGF10 and MERTK phagocytic pathways, and is strongly dependent on neuronal activity. Developing mice deficient in both astrocyte pathways fail to refine their retinogeniculate connections normally and retain excess functional synapses. Finally, we show that in the adult mouse brain, astrocytes continuously engulf both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. These studies reveal a novel role for astrocytes in mediating synapse elimination in the developing and adult brain, identify MEGF10 and MERTK as critical proteins in the synapse remodelling underlying neural circuit refinement, and have important implications for understanding learning and memory as well as neurological disease processes.
Publisher
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Issue Date
2013-12
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

ENGULFMENT RECEPTOR DRAPER; CELL CORPSE ENGULFMENT; RETINOGENICULATE SYNAPSE; BRAIN-DEVELOPMENT; RETINAL WAVES; C-ELEGANS; PHAGOCYTOSIS; KINASE; SEGREGATION; REFINEMENT

Citation

NATURE, v.504, no.7480, pp.394 - 394

ISSN
0028-0836
DOI
10.1038/nature12776
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/206019
Appears in Collection
BS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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