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Neuron. 2001 Jul 19;31(1):115-30.

Regulation of dendritic spine morphology and synaptic function by Shank and Homer.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and, Department of Neurobiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and, Harvard Medical School, 02114, Boston, MA, USA.


The Shank family of proteins interacts with NMDA receptor and metabotropic glutamate receptor complexes in the postsynaptic density (PSD). Targeted to the PSD by a PDZ-dependent mechanism, Shank promotes the maturation of dendritic spines and the enlargement of spine heads via its ability to recruit Homer to postsynaptic sites. Shank and Homer cooperate to induce accumulation of IP3 receptors in dendritic spines and formation of putative multisynapse spines. In addition, postsynaptic expression of Shank enhances presynaptic function, as measured by increased minifrequency and FM4-64 uptake. These data suggest a central role for the Shank scaffold in the structural and functional organization of the dendritic spine and synaptic junction.

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