An evolutionarily conserved mechanism for presynaptic trapping

Fabian Fernandez, Viviana Torres, Pedro Zamorano

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Presynaptic differentiation takes place over three interrelated acts involving the biogenesis and trafficking of molecular complexes of active zone material, the "trapping" or stabilization of active zone sites, and the subsequent development of mature synapses. Although the identities of proteins involved with establishing presynaptic specializations have been increasingly delineated, the exact functional mechanisms by which the active zone is assembled remain poorly understood. Here, we discuss a theoretical model for how the trapping stage of presynaptic differentiation might occur in developing neurons. We suggest that subsets of active zone proteins containing polyglutamine domains undergo concentration-dependent prion-like conversions as they accumulate at the plasma membrane. This conversion might serve to aggregate the proteins into a singular structure, which is then able to recruit scaffolding agents necessary for regulated synaptic transmission. A brief informatics analysis in support of this 'Q' assembly hypothesis-across commonly used models of synaptogenesis-is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1754
Number of pages4
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Active zone
  • Bassoon
  • Bruchpilot
  • Neurobiology
  • Presynaptic assembly
  • Presynaptic trapping
  • Prion
  • Syd-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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