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J Neurosci. 2012 Aug 22;32(34):11780-97. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0969-12.2012.

Molecular and functional interaction between protocadherin-γC5 and GABAA receptors.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


We have found that the γ2 subunit of the GABA(A) receptor (γ2-GABA(A)R) specifically interacts with protocadherin-γC5 (Pcdh-γC5) in the rat brain. The interaction occurs between the large intracellular loop of the γ2-GABA(A)R and the cytoplasmic domain of Pcdh-γC5. In brain extracts, Pcdh-γC5 coimmunoprecipitates with GABA(A)Rs. In cotransfected HEK293 cells, Pcdh-γC5 promotes the transfer of γ2-GABA(A)R to the cell surface. We have previously shown that, in cultured hippocampal neurons, endogenous Pcdh-γC5 forms clusters, some of which associate with GABAergic synapses. Overexpression of Pcdh-γC5 in hippocampal neurons increases the density of γ2-GABA(A)R clusters but has no significant effect on the number of GABAergic contacts that these neurons receive, indicating that Pcdh-γC5 is not synaptogenic. Deletion of the cytoplasmic domain of Pcdh-γC5 enhanced its surface expression but decreased the association with both γ2-GABA(A)R clusters and presynaptic GABAergic contacts. Cultured hippocampal neurons from the Pcdh-γ triple C-type isoform knock-out (TCKO) mouse (Pcdhg(tcko/tcko)) showed plenty of GABAergic synaptic contacts, although their density was reduced compared with sister cultures from wild-type and heterozygous mice. Knocking down Pcdh-γC5 expression with shRNA decreased γ2-GABA(A)R cluster density and GABAergic innervation. The results indicate that, although Pcdh-γC5 is not essential for GABAergic synapse formation or GABA(A)R clustering, (1) Pcdh-γC5 regulates the surface expression of GABA(A)Rs via cis-cytoplasmic interaction with γ2-GABA(A)R, and (2) Pcdh-γC5 plays a role in the stabilization and maintenance of some GABAergic synapses.

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