Surprising synapses deep in the brain

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Two independent groups in this issue report synaptic communication between callosal axons and the NG2-positive glial precursors in the brain. Activity-dependent vesicular glutamate release from axon collaterals triggers AMPA-type currents in the precursors. This phenomenon might be involved in regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation or remyelination.

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Figure 1: NG2-expressing progenitor cells can be readily identified in subcortical white matter and in cerebral cortex of the 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide 3′-phosphodiesterase–enhanced green fluorescent protein mouse.

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