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A synapse is a stable adhesive junction between two cells across which information is relayed by directed secretion. The nervous system and immune system utilize these specialized cell surface contacts to directly convey and transduce highly controlled secretory signals between their constituent cell populations. Each of these synaptic types is built around a microdomain structure comprising central active zones of exocytosis and endocytosis encircled by adhesion domains. Surface molecules that may be incorporated into and around the active zones contribute to modulation of the functional state of the synapse.

Original publication




Journal article


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Date





785 - 789


Program in Molecular Pathogenesis, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016 USA.


Central Nervous System, Neurons, Synapses, Antigen-Presenting Cells, T-Lymphocytes, Animals, Cadherins, Integrins, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Lymphocyte Activation, Cell Adhesion, Cell Communication, Endocytosis, Exocytosis