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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 9;279(2):987-1002. Epub 2003 Oct 7.

Proteomics analysis of rat brain postsynaptic density. Implications of the diverse protein functional groups for the integration of synaptic physiology.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Research Institute of Neurosciences, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The postsynaptic density contains multiple protein complexes that together relay the presynaptic neurotransmitter input to the activation of the postsynaptic neuron. In the present study we took two independent proteome approaches for the characterization of the protein complement of the postsynaptic density, namely 1) two-dimensional gel electrophoresis separation of proteins in conjunction with mass spectrometry to identify the tryptic peptides of the protein spots and 2) isolation of the trypsin-digested sample that was labeled with isotope-coded affinity tag, followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for the partial separation and identification of the peptides, respectively. Functional grouping of the identified proteins indicates that the postsynaptic density is a structurally and functionally complex organelle that may be involved in a broad range of synaptic activities. These proteins include the receptors and ion channels for glutamate neurotransmission, proteins for maintenance and modulation of synaptic architecture, sorting and trafficking of membrane proteins, generation of anaerobic energy, scaffolding and signaling, local protein synthesis, and correct protein folding and breakdown of synaptic proteins. Together, these results imply that the postsynaptic density may have the ability to function (semi-) autonomously and may direct various cellular functions in order to integrate synaptic physiology.

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