Neurexins and neuroligins: Synapses look out of the nervous system

Alessia Bottos, Alberto Rissone, Federico Bussolino, Marco Arese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scientific interest in the family of the so-called nervous vascular parallels has been growing steadily for the past 15 years, either by addition of new members to the group or, lately, by deepening the analysis of established concepts and mediators. Proteins governing both neurons and vascular cells are known to be involved in events such as cell fate determination and migration/guidance but not in the last and apparently most complex step of nervous system development, the formation and maturation of synapses. Hence, the recent addition to this family of the specific synaptic proteins, Neurexin and Neuroligin, is a double innovation. The two proteins, which were thought to be "simple" adhesive links between the pre- and post-synaptic sides of chemical synapses, are in fact extremely complex and modulate the most subtle synaptic activities. We will discuss the relevant data and the intriguing challenge of transferring synaptic activities to vascular functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2655-2666
Number of pages12
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Nervous vascular parallels
  • Neurexin
  • Neuroligin
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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