How does chronic activity modulation lead to global remodeling of proteins at synapses and synaptic scaling? Here we report a role of guanylate-kinase-associated-protein (GKAP; also known as SAPAP), a scaffolding molecule linking NMDA receptor-PSD-95 to Shank-Homer complexes, in these processes. Over-excitation removes GKAP from synapses via ubiquitin-proteasome system, while inactivity induces synaptic accumulation of GKAP in rat hippocampal neurons. The bi-directional changes of synaptic GKAP levels are controlled by specific CaMKII isoforms coupled to different Ca2+ channels. α-CaMKII activated by NMDA receptor phosphorylates Serine-54 of GKAP to induce poly-ubiquitination of GKAP. In contrast, β-CaMKII activation via L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel promotes GKAP recruitment by phosphorylating Serine-340 and Serine-384 residues, which uncouples GKAP from MyoVa motor complex. Remarkably, overexpressing GKAP turnover mutants not only hampers activity-dependent remodeling of PSD-95 and Shank but also blocks bi-directional synaptic scaling. Therefore, activity-dependent turnover of PSD proteins orchestrated by GKAP is critical for homeostatic plasticity.
Synaptic activity–dependent remodeling of the glutamate receptor scaffold complex generates a negative feedback loop that limits further NMDA receptor activation.
Scaffolding proteins interact with membrane receptors to control signaling pathways and cellular functions. However, the dynamics and specific roles of interactions between different components of scaffold complexes are poorly understood because of the dearth of methods available to monitor binding interactions. Using a unique combination of single-cell bioluminescence resonance energy transfer imaging in living neurons and electrophysiological recordings, in this paper, we depict the role of glutamate receptor scaffold complex remodeling in space and time to control synaptic transmission. Despite a broad colocalization of the proteins in neurons, we show that spine-confined assembly/disassembly of this scaffold complex, physiologically triggered by sustained activation of synaptic NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptors, induces physical association between ionotropic (NMDA) and metabotropic (mGlu5a) synaptic glutamate receptors. This physical interaction results in an mGlu5a receptor–mediated inhibition of NMDA currents, providing an activity-dependent negative feedback loop on NMDA receptor activity. Such protein scaffold remodeling represents a form of homeostatic control of synaptic excitability.
Changes in neuronal activity modify the structure of dendritic spines and alter the function and protein composition of synapses. Regulated degradation of postsynaptic density (PSD) proteins by the ubiquitin-proteasome system is believed to play an important role in activity-dependent synaptic remodeling. Stimulating neuronal activity in vitro and in vivo induces the ubiquitination and degradation of GKAP/SAPAP and Shank, major scaffold proteins of the PSD. However, the specific ubiquitin ligases that regulate postsynaptic protein composition have not been identified. Here we identify the RING finger-containing protein TRIM3 as a specific E3 ubiquitin ligase for the PSD scaffold GKAP/SAPAP1. Present in PSD fractions from rat brain, TRIM3 stimulates ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation of GKAP, and induces the loss of GKAP and associated scaffold Shank1 from postsynaptic sites. Suppression of endogenous TRIM3 by RNA interference (RNAi) results in increased accumulation of GKAP and Shank1 at synapses, as well as enlargement of dendritic spine heads. RNAi of TRIM3 also prevented the loss of GKAP induced by synaptic activity. Thus, TRIM3 is a novel E3 ligase that mediates activity-dependent turnover of PSD scaffold proteins and is a negative regulator of dendritic spine morphology.
The early stages of Alzheimer's disease are marked by synaptic dysfunction and loss. This process results from the disassembly and degradation of synaptic components, in particular of scaffolding proteins that compose the post-synaptic density (PSD), namely PSD95, Homer and Shank. Here we investigated in rat frontal cortex dissociated culture the mechanisms involved in the downregulation of GKAP (SAPAP1), which links the PSD95 complex to the Shank complex and cytoskeletal structures within the PSD. We show that Aβ causes the rapid loss of GKAP from synapses through a pathway that critically requires cdk5 activity, and is set in motion by NMDAR activity and Ca2+ influx. We show that GKAP is a direct substrate of cdk5 and that its phosphorylation results in polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of GKAP and remodeling (collapse) of the synaptic actin cytoskeleton; the latter effect is abolished in neurons expressing GKAP mutants that are resistant to phosphorylation by cdk5. Given that cdk5 also regulates degradation of PSD95, these results underscore the central position of cdk5 in mediating Aβ-induced PSD disassembly and synapse loss.
MyosinVa (MyoVa) mediates F-actin-based vesicular transport toward the plasma membrane and is found at neuronal postsynaptic densities (PSDs), but the role of MyoVa in synaptic development and function is largely unknown. Here, in studies using the dominant negative MyoVa neurological mutant mouse Flailer, we find that MyoVa plays an essential role in activity-dependent delivery of PSD-95 and other critical PSD molecules to synapses and in endocytosis of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPAR) in the dendrites of CNS neurons. MyoVa is known to carry a complex containing the major scaffolding proteins of the mature PSD, PSD-95, SAPAP1/GKAP, Shank and Homer, to dendritic spine synapses. In Flailer, neurons show abnormal dendritic shaft localization of PSD-95, stargazin, dynamin3, AMPA glutamate receptors (AMPARs) and abnormal spine morphology. Flailer neurons also have abnormally high AMPAR miniature current frequencies and spontaneous AMPAR currents that are more frequent and larger than in WT while numbers of NMDAR containing synapses remain normal. The AMPAR abnormalities are consistent with a severely disrupted developmental regulation of long-term depression that we find in cortical Flailer neurons. Thus MyoVa plays a fundamentally important role both in localizing mature glutamate synapses to spines and in organizing the synapse for normal function. For this reason Flailer mice will be valuable in further dissecting the role of MyoVa in normal synaptic and circuit refinement and also in studies of neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases where disruptions of normal glutamate synapses are frequently observed.
Activity-dependent modification of excitatory synaptic transmission is fundamental for developmental plasticity of the neural circuits and experience-dependent plasticity. Synaptic glutamatergic receptors including AMPA receptors and NMDA receptors (AMPARs and NMDARs) are embedded in the highly organized protein network in the postsynaptic density. Overwhelming data have shown that PSD-95-like membrane associated guanylate kinases (PSD-MAGUKs), as a major family of scaffold proteins at glutamatergic synapses, regulate basal synaptic AMPAR function and trafficking. It is now clear that PSD-MAGUKs have multifaceted functions in terms of regulating synaptic transmission and plasticity. Here we discuss recent advancements in understanding the roles of PSD-95 and other family members of PSD-MAGUKs in synaptic plasticity, both as an anchoring protein for synaptic AMPARs and also as a signaling scaffold for mediating the interaction of the signaling complex and NMDARs.
The small GTPase Cdc42 regulates interactions of dynein with microtubules through the polarity protein Dlg1 and the scaffolding protein GKAP.
Centrosome positioning is crucial during cell division, cell differentiation, and for a wide range of cell-polarized functions including migration. In multicellular organisms, centrosome movement across the cytoplasm is thought to result from a balance of forces exerted by the microtubule-associated motor dynein. However, the mechanisms regulating dynein-mediated forces are still unknown. We show here that during wound-induced cell migration, the small G protein Cdc42 acts through the polarity protein Dlg1 to regulate the interaction of dynein with microtubules of the cell front. Dlg1 interacts with dynein via the scaffolding protein GKAP and together, Dlg1, GKAP, and dynein control microtubule dynamics and organization near the cell cortex and promote centrosome positioning. Our results suggest that, by modulating dynein interaction with leading edge microtubules, the evolutionary conserved proteins Dlg1 and GKAP control the forces operating on microtubules and play a fundamental role in centrosome positioning and cell polarity.
Synaptic plasticity, the cellular basis of learning and memory, involves the dynamic trafficking of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) into and out of synapses. One of the remaining key unanswered aspects of AMPAR trafficking is the mechanism by which synaptic strength is preserved in spite of protein turnover. In particular, the identity of AMPAR scaffolding molecule(s) involved in the maintenance of GluA2-containing AMPARs is completely unknown. Here we report that Synaptic scaffolding molecule (S-SCAM, also called membrane-associated guanylate kinase inverted-2 and atrophin interacting protein-1) plays the critical role of maintaining synaptic strength. Increasing S-SCAM levels in rat hippocampal neurons led to specific increases in the surface AMPAR levels, enhanced AMPAR-mediated synaptic transmission, and enlargement of dendritic spines, without significantly effecting GluN levels or NMDAR EPSC. Conversely, decreasing S-SCAM levels by RNA interference-mediated knockdown caused the loss of synaptic AMPARs, which was followed by a severe reduction in the dendritic spine density. Importantly, S-SCAM regulated synaptic AMPAR levels in a manner, dependent on GluA2 not GluA1, sensitive to NSF interaction, and independent of activity. Further, S-SCAM increased surface AMPAR levels in the absence of PSD-95, while PSD-95 was dependent on S-SCAM to increase surface AMPAR levels. Finally, S-SCAM overexpression hampered NMDA-induced internalization of AMPARs and prevented the induction of long term depression, while S-SCAM knockdown did not affect long term depression. Together, these results suggest that S-SCAM is an essential AMPAR scaffolding molecule for the GluA2-containing pool of AMPARs, which are involved in the constitutive pathway of maintaining synaptic strength.
Among diverse factors regulating excitatory synaptic transmission, the abundance of postsynaptic glutamate receptors figures prominently in molecular memory and learning-related synaptic plasticity. To allow for both long-term maintenance of synaptic transmission and acute changes in synaptic strength, the relative rates of glutamate receptor insertion and removal must be tightly regulated. Interactions with scaffolding proteins control the targeting and signaling properties of glutamate receptors within the postsynaptic membrane. In addition, extrasynaptic receptor populations control the equilibrium of receptor exchange at synapses and activate distinct signaling pathways involved in plasticity. Here, we review recent findings that have shaped our current understanding of receptor mobility between synaptic and extrasynaptic compartments at glutamatergic synapses, focusing on AMPA and NMDA receptors. We also examine the cooperative relationship between intracellular trafficking and surface diffusion of glutamate receptors that underlies the expression of learning-related synaptic plasticity.
A two step mechanism was identified that regulates receptor endocytosis during the development of long-term depression (LTD), a long-lasting decrease in synaptic transmission.
Long-term depression (LTD) is a long-lasting activity-dependent decrease in synaptic strength. NMDA receptor (NMDAR)–dependent LTD, an extensively studied form of LTD, involves the endocytosis of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) via protein dephosphorylation, but the underlying mechanism has remained unclear. We show here that a regulated interaction of the endocytic adaptor RalBP1 with two synaptic proteins, the small GTPase RalA and the postsynaptic scaffolding protein PSD-95, controls NMDAR-dependent AMPAR endocytosis during LTD. NMDAR activation stimulates RalA, which binds and translocates widespread RalBP1 to synapses. In addition, NMDAR activation dephosphorylates RalBP1, promoting the interaction of RalBP1 with PSD-95. These two regulated interactions are required for NMDAR-dependent AMPAR endocytosis and LTD and are sufficient to induce AMPAR endocytosis in the absence of NMDAR activation. RalA in the basal state, however, maintains surface AMPARs. We propose that NMDAR activation brings RalBP1 close to PSD-95 to promote the interaction of RalBP1-associated endocytic proteins with PSD-95-associated AMPARs. This suggests that scaffolding proteins at specialized cellular junctions can switch their function from maintenance to endocytosis of interacting membrane proteins in a regulated manner.
Neurons adapt over time in order to dampen their response to prolonged or particularly strong stimuli. This process, termed long-term depression (LTD), results in a long-lasting decrease in the efficiency of synaptic transmission. One extensively studied form of LTD requires the activation of a specific class of receptors known as NMDA glutamate receptors (NMDARs). A key molecular event initiated by NMDA receptor activation is the stimulation of protein phosphatases. Another key event is internalization via endocytosis of synaptic AMPA glutamate receptors (AMPARs). However, the mechanism by which protein dephosphorylation is coupled to AMPAR endocytosis has remained unclear. Here, we help to define this mechanism. We show that endocytic proteins, including RalBP1, are widely distributed in neurons under normal conditions. Upon NMDAR activation, the small GTPase RalA becomes activated and binds to RalBP1, resulting in the translocation of RalBP1 and RalBP1-associated endocytic proteins to synapses. At the same time, RalBP1 becomes dephosphorylated, which promotes its binding to the postsynaptic scaffold protein PSD-95, a protein that itself associates with AMPARs. This concerted recruitment of endocytic proteins to the vicinity of AMPARs results in AMPAR endocytosis. On the basis of our data, we propose a model in which dual binding of RalBP1 to both RalA and PSD-95 following RalBP1 dephosphorylation is essential for NMDAR-dependent AMPAR endocytosis during LTD.
The activity-dependent modulation of GABA-A receptor (GABAAR) clustering at synapses controls inhibitory synaptic transmission. Several lines of evidence suggest that gephyrin, an inhibitory synaptic scaffold protein, is a critical factor in the regulation of GABAAR clustering during inhibitory synaptic plasticity induced by neuronal excitation. In this study, we tested this hypothesis by studying relative gephyrin dynamics and GABAAR declustering during excitatory activity. Surprisingly, we found that gephyrin dispersal is not essential for GABAAR declustering during excitatory activity. In cultured hippocampal neurons, quantitative immunocytochemistry showed that the dispersal of synaptic GABAARs accompanied with neuronal excitation evoked by 4-aminopyridine (4AP) or N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) precedes that of gephyrin. Single-particle tracking of quantum dot labeled-GABAARs revealed that excitation-induced enhancement of GABAAR lateral mobility also occurred before the shrinkage of gephyrin clusters. Physical inhibition of GABAAR lateral diffusion on the cell surface and inhibition of a Ca2+ dependent phosphatase, calcineurin, completely eliminated the 4AP-induced decrease in gephyrin cluster size, but not the NMDA-induced decrease in cluster size, suggesting the existence of two different mechanisms of gephyrin declustering during activity-dependent plasticity, a GABAAR-dependent regulatory mechanism and a GABAAR-independent one. Our results also indicate that GABAAR mobility and clustering after sustained excitatory activity is independent of gephyrin.
Dendritic spines are dynamic structures that accommodate the majority of excitatory synapses in the brain and are influenced by extracellular signals from presynaptic neurons, glial cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM surrounds dendritic spines and extends into the synaptic cleft, maintaining synapse integrity as well as mediating trans-synaptic communications between neurons. Several scaffolding proteins and glycans that compose the ECM form a lattice-like network, which serves as an attractive ground for various secreted glycoproteins, lectins, growth factors and enzymes. ECM components can control dendritic spines through the interactions with their specific receptors or by influencing the functions of other synaptic proteins. In this review, we focus on ECM components and their receptors that regulate dendritic spine development and plasticity in the normal and diseased brain.
dendritic spines; synapse; extracellular matrix; brain; neurological disorders
Recent findings demonstrate that synaptic channels are directly involved in the formation and maintenance of synapses by interacting with synapse organizers. The synaptic channels on the pre- and postsynaptic membranes possess non-conducting roles in addition to their functional roles as ion-conducting channels required for synaptic transmission. For example, presynaptic voltage-dependent calcium channels link the target-derived synapse organizer laminin β2 to cytomatrix of the active zone and function as scaffolding proteins to organize the presynaptic active zones. Furthermore, postsynaptic δ2-type glutamate receptors organize the synapses by forming transsynaptic protein complexes with presynaptic neurexins through synapse organizer cerebellin 1 precursor proteins. Interestingly, the synaptic clustering of AMPA receptors is regulated by neuronal activity-regulated pentraxins, while postsynaptic differentiation is induced by the interaction of postsynaptic calcium channels and thrombospondins. This review will focus on the non-conducting functions of ion-channels that contribute to the synapse formation in concert with synapse organizers and active-zone-specific proteins.
Bassoon; CAST; Cbln1; GABAA; GluRδ2; Narp; neurexin; neuromuscular junction; rim; voltage-gated calcium channel
The adaptive immune response is initiated by the presentation of peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex molecules on dendritic cells (DCs) to antigen-specific T lymphocytes at a junction termed the immunological synapse. Although much attention has been paid to cytoplasmic events on the T cell side of the synapse, little is known concerning events on the DC side. We have sought signal transduction components of the neuronal synapse that were also expressed by DCs. One such protein is spinophilin, a scaffolding protein of neuronal dendritic spines that regulates synaptic transmission. In inactive, immature DCs, spinophilin is located throughout the cytoplasm but redistributes to the plasma membrane upon stimulus-induced maturation. In DCs interacting with T cells, spinophilin is polarized dynamically to contact sites in an antigen-dependent manner. It is also required for optimal T cell activation because DCs derived from mice lacking spinophilin exhibit defects in antigen presentation both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, spinophilin may play analogous roles in information transfer at both neuronal and immunological synapses.
The efficacy of synaptic transmission depends on the maintenance of a high density of neurotransmitter receptors and their associated scaffold proteins in the postsynaptic membrane. While the dynamics of receptors has been extensively studied, the dynamics of the intracellular scaffold proteins that make up the postsynaptic density are largely unknown in vivo. Here, we focused on the dynamics of rapsyn, a protein required for the clustering and maintenance of acetylcholine receptor (AChR) density at postsynaptic sites. Using time-lapse imaging, we demonstrated that rapsyn is remarkably dynamic compared to AChRs at functional synapses, turning over 4-6 times more rapidly than AChRs. In addition we found that the rapid turnover of rapsyn is insensitive to alterations in synaptic activity, whereas AChR turnover is profoundly affected, illustrating that rapsyn and receptor dynamics are controlled by distinct mechanisms. These data indicate that individual postsynaptic components are in permanent exchange despite the overall stability of synaptic structure, which may play a role in synaptic plasticity.
Protein Dynamics; FRAP; Post-synaptic Density; Acetylcholine Receptor; Neuromuscular Junction; Intracellular Scaffold
Neurabin is a scaffolding protein that interacts with actin and protein phosphatase-1. Highly enriched in the dendritic spine, neurabin is important for spine morphogenesis and synaptic formation. However, less is known about the role of neurabin in hippocampal plasticity and its possible effect on behavioral functions. Using neurabin knockout (KO) mice, here we studied the function of neurabin in hippocampal synaptic transmission, plasticity and behavioral memory. We demonstrated that neurabin KO mice showed a deficit in contextual fear memory but not auditory fear memory. Whole-cell patch clamp recordings in the hippocampal CA1 neurons showed that long-term potentiation (LTP) was significantly reduced, whereas long-term depression (LTD) was unaltered in neurabin KO mice. Moreover, increased AMPA receptor but not NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission was found in neurabin KO mice, and is accompanied by decreased phosphorylation of GluR1 at the PKA site (Ser845) but no change at the CaMKII/PKC site (Ser831). Pre-conditioning with LTD induction rescued the following LTP in neurabin KO mice, suggesting the loss of LTP may be due to the saturated synaptic transmission. Our results indicate that neurabin regulates contextual fear memory and LTP in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
The human brain is made up of an extensive network of neurons that communicate by forming specialized connections called synapses. The amount, location, and dynamic turnover of synaptic proteins, including neurotransmitter receptors and synaptic scaffolding molecules, are under complex regulation and play a crucial role in synaptic connectivity and plasticity, as well as in higher brain functions. An increasing number of studies have established ubiquitination and proteasome-mediated degradation as universal mechanisms in the control of synaptic protein homeostasis. In this paper, we focus on the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in the turnover of major neurotransmitter receptors, including glutamatergic and nonglutamatergic receptors, as well as postsynaptic receptor-interacting proteins.
Proper developmental, neural cell type-specific and activity-dependent regulation of GABAergic transmission is essential for virtually all aspects of CNS function. The number of GABAA receptors in the postsynaptic membrane directly controls the efficacy of GABAergic synaptic transmission. Thus, regulated trafficking of GABAA receptors is essential for understanding of brain function in both health and disease. Here we summarize recent progress in understanding of mechanisms that allow dynamic adaptation of cell surface expression and postsynaptic accumulation and function of GABAA receptors. This includes activity-dependent and cell type-specific changes in subunit gene expression, assembly of subunits into receptors, as well as exocytosis, endocytic recycling, diffusion dynamics and degradation of GABAA receptors. In particular, we focus on the roles of receptor-interacting proteins, scaffold proteins, synaptic adhesion proteins, and enzymes that regulate the trafficking and function of receptors and associated proteins. In addition, we review neuropeptide signaling pathways that affect neural excitability through changes in GABAAR trafficking.
The molecular mechanisms underlying the organization of ion channels and signaling molecules at the synaptic junction are largely unknown. Recently, members of the PSD-95/SAP90 family of synaptic MAGUK (membrane-associated guanylate kinase) proteins have been shown to interact, via their NH2-terminal PDZ domains, with certain ion channels (NMDA receptors and K+ channels), thereby promoting the clustering of these proteins. Although the function of the NH2-terminal PDZ domains is relatively well characterized, the function of the Src homology 3 (SH3) domain and the guanylate kinase-like (GK) domain in the COOH-terminal half of PSD-95 has remained obscure. We now report the isolation of a novel synaptic protein, termed GKAP for guanylate kinase-associated protein, that binds directly to the GK domain of the four known members of the mammalian PSD-95 family. GKAP shows a unique domain structure and appears to be a major constituent of the postsynaptic density. GKAP colocalizes and coimmunoprecipitates with PSD-95 in vivo, and coclusters with PSD-95 and K+ channels/ NMDA receptors in heterologous cells. Given their apparent lack of guanylate kinase enzymatic activity, the fact that the GK domain can act as a site for protein– protein interaction has implications for the function of diverse GK-containing proteins (such as p55, ZO-1, and LIN-2/CASK).
Postsynaptic density 93 (PSD-93) is a protein enriched at postsynaptic sites. As a key scaffolding protein, PSD-93 forms complexes with the clustering of various synaptic proteins to construct postsynaptic signaling networks and control synaptic transmission. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is a prototypic member of a serine/threonine protein kinase family known as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). This kinase, especially ERK2 isoform, noticeably resides in peripheral structures of neurons, such as dendritic spines and postsynaptic density areas, in addition to its distribution in the cytoplasm and nucleus, although little is known about specific substrates of ERK at synaptic sites. In this study, we found that synaptic PSD-93 is a direct target of ERK. This was demonstrated by direct protein-protein interactions between purified ERK2 and PSD-93 in vitro. The accurate ERK2-binding region seems to locate at an N-terminal region of PSD-93. In adult rat striatal neurons in vivo, native ERK from synaptosomal fractions also associated with PSD-93. In phosphorylation assays, active ERK2 phosphorylated PSD-93. An accurate phosphorylation site was identified at a serine site (S323). In striatal neurons, immunoprecipitated PSD-93 showed basal phosphorylation at an ERK-sensitive site. Our data provide evidence supporting PSD-93 as a new substrate of the synaptic species of ERK. ERK2 possesses the ability to interact with PSD-93 and mediate phosphorylation of PSD-93 at a specific site.
PDZ; PSD-95; MAPK; JNK; synapse; signaling; striatum
The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) regulates synapse formation and synaptic strength via mechanisms that have remained unknown. We show that NCAM associates with the postsynaptic spectrin-based scaffold, cross-linking NCAM with the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II α (CaMKIIα) in a manner not firmly or directly linked to PSD95 and α-actinin. Clustering of NCAM promotes formation of detergent-insoluble complexes enriched in postsynaptic proteins and resembling postsynaptic densities. Disruption of the NCAM–spectrin complex decreases the size of postsynaptic densities and reduces synaptic targeting of NCAM–spectrin–associated postsynaptic proteins, including spectrin, NMDA receptors, and CaMKIIα. Degeneration of the spectrin scaffold in NCAM-deficient neurons results in an inability to recruit CaMKIIα to synapses after NMDA receptor activation, which is a critical process in NMDA receptor–dependent long-term potentiation. The combined observations indicate that NCAM promotes assembly of the spectrin-based postsynaptic signaling complex, which is required for activity-associated, long-lasting changes in synaptic strength. Its abnormal function may contribute to the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders associated with mutations in or abnormal expression of NCAM.
BioArchitecture is a term used to describe the organization and regulation of biological space. It applies to the principles which govern the structure of molecules, polymers and mutiprotein complexes, organelles, membranes and their organization in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. It also covers the integration of cells into their three dimensional environment at the level of cell-matrix, cell-cell interactions, integration into tissue/organ structure and function and finally into the structure of the organism. This review will highlight studies at all these levels which are providing a new way to think about the relationship between the organization of biological space and the function of biological systems.
actin; cytoskeleton; microtubules; intermediate filaments; nuclear structure; protein folding; isoform sorting
Most excitatory synapses terminate on dendritic spines. Spines vary in size, and their volumes are proportional to the area of the postsynaptic density (PSD) and synaptic strength. PSD-95 is an abundant multi-domain postsynaptic scaffolding protein that clusters glutamate receptors and organizes the associated signaling complexes. PSD-95 is thought to determine the size and strength of synapses. Although spines and their synapses can persist for months in vivo, PSD-95 and other PSD proteins have shorter half-lives in vitro, on the order of hours. To probe the mechanisms underlying synapse stability, we measured the dynamics of synaptic PSD-95 clusters in vivo. Using two-photon microscopy, we imaged PSD-95 tagged with GFP in layer 2/3 dendrites in the developing (postnatal day 10–21) barrel cortex. A subset of PSD-95 clusters was stable for days. Using two-photon photoactivation of PSD-95 tagged with photoactivatable GFP (paGFP), we measured the time over which PSD-95 molecules were retained in individual spines. Synaptic PSD-95 turned over rapidly (median retention times τr ~ 22–63 min from P10–P21) and exchanged with PSD-95 in neighboring spines by diffusion. PSDs therefore share a dynamic pool of PSD-95. Large PSDs in large spines captured more diffusing PSD-95 and also retained PSD-95 longer than small PSDs. Changes in the sizes of individual PSDs over days were associated with concomitant changes in PSD-95 retention times. Furthermore, retention times increased with developmental age (τr ~ 100 min at postnatal day 70) and decreased dramatically following sensory deprivation. Our data suggest that individual PSDs compete for PSD-95 and that the kinetic interactions between PSD molecules and PSDs are tuned to regulate PSD size.
Using two-photon microscopy and photoactivation of a fluorescently tagged synaptic protein (PSD-95), the authors demonstrated rapid turnover of these molecules in dendritic spines of the mouse sensory cortex in vivo.
Activity-dependent changes of synaptic connections are facilitated by a variety of scaffold proteins, including PSD-95, Shank, SAP97 and GRIP, which serve to organize ion channels, receptors and enzymatic activities and to coordinate the actin cytoskeleton. The abundance of these scaffold proteins raises questions about the functional specificity of action of each protein. Here we report that basal synaptic transmission is regulated in an unexpected manner by the ankyrin repeat-rich membrane-spanning (ARMS/Kidins220) scaffold protein. In particular, decreases in the levels of ARMS/Kidins220 in vivo led to an increase in basal synaptic transmission in the hippocampus, without affecting paired pulse facilitation. One explanation to account for the effects of ARMS/Kidins220 is an interaction with the AMPA receptor subunit, GluA1, which could be observed after immunoprecipitation. Importantly, shRNA and cell surface biotinylation experiments indicate that ARMS/Kidins220 levels have an impact on GluA1 phosphorylation and localization. Moreover, ARMS/Kidins220 is a negative regulator of AMPAR function, which was confirmed by inward rectification assays. These results provide evidence that modulation of ARMS/Kidins220 levels can regulate basal synaptic strength in a specific manner in hippocampal neurons.
ARMS-Kidins220; scaffold; synaptic transmission
Activity-dependent rapid structural and functional modifications of central excitatory synapses contribute to synapse maturation, experience-dependent plasticity, learning and memory, and are associated with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. However the signal transduction mechanisms that link glutamate receptor activation to intracellular effectors that accomplish structural and functional plasticity are not well understood. Here we report that NMDA receptor activation in pyramidal neurons causes CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation of the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) kalirin-7 at residue threonine 95, regulating its GEF activity, leading to activation of small GTPase Rac1 and rapid enlargement of existing spines. Kalirin-7 also interacts with AMPA receptors and controls their synaptic expression. By demonstrating that kalirin expression and spine localization are required for activity-dependent spine enlargement and enhancement of AMPA-mediated synaptic transmission, our study identifies a novel signaling pathway that controls structural and functional spine plasticity.
Rac1; GluR1; CaMKII; synaptic plasticity; postsynaptic density; cytoskeleton; actin; synaptic transmission