Chemical synapses are key organelles for neurotransmission. The coordinated actions of protein networks in diverse synaptic subdomains drive the sequential molecular events of transmitter release from the presynaptic bouton, activation of transmitter receptors located in the postsynaptic density and the changes of postsynaptic potential. Plastic change of synaptic efficacy is thought to be caused by the alteration of protein constituents and their interaction in the synapse. As a first step toward the understanding of the organization of synapse, several proteomics studies have been carried out to profile the protein constituents and the post-translational modifications in various rodent excitatory chemical synaptic subdomains, including postsynaptic density, synaptic vesicle and the synaptic phosphoproteome. Quantitative proteomics have been applied to examine the changes of synaptic proteins during brain development, in knockout mice model developed for studies of synapse physiology and in rodent models of brain disorders. These analyses generate testable hypotheses of synapse function and regulation both in health and disease. © 2008 Future Drugs Ltd.