Molecules that regulate formation, differentiation, and maintenance of synapses are called synaptic organizers. Recently, various ‘C1q family’ proteins have been shown to be released from neurons, and serve as a new class of synaptic organizers. Cbln1 and C1ql1 proteins regulate the formation and maintenance of parallel fiber-Purkinje cell and climbing fiber-Purkinje cell synapses, respectively, in the cerebellum. Cbln1 also modulates the function of postsynaptic delta2 glutamate receptors to regulate synaptic plasticity. C1ql2 and C1ql3, released from mossy fibers, determine the synaptic localization of postsynaptic kainate receptors in the hippocampus. C1ql3 also regulates the formation of synapses between the basolateral amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. These findings indicate the diverse functions of C1q family proteins in various brain regions.
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