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Immunological and neural synapses share properties such as the synaptic cleft, adhesion molecules, stability, and polarity. However, the mismatch in scale has limited the utility of these comparisons. The discovery of phosphatase micro-exclusion from signaling elements in immunological synapses and innate phagocytic synapses define a common functional unit at a common sub-micron scale across synapse types. Bundling of information from multiple antigen receptor microclusters by an immunological synapse has parallels to bundling of multiple synaptic inputs into a single axonal output by neurons, allowing integration and coincidence detection. Bonafide neuroimmune synapses control the inflammatory reflex. A better understanding of the shared mechanisms between immunological and neural synapses could aid in the development of new therapeutic modalities for immunological, neurological, and neuroimmunological disorders alike.

Original publication

DOI

10.1172/jci58705

Type

Journal article

Journal

The Journal of clinical investigation

Publication Date

02/04/2012

Volume

122

Pages

1149 - 1155

Addresses

The Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA. michael.dustin@med.nyu.edu

Keywords

Neurons, Vagus Nerve, Synapses, Dendritic Cells, Animals, Humans, Inflammation, Antigens, CD45, Receptors, Immunologic, Signal Transduction, Phagocytosis, Lymphocyte Cooperation, Immunologic Capping, Neuroimmunomodulation, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Phosphorylation, Models, Biological, Models, Immunological, Immunological Synapses, Biological Evolution