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J Neurochem. 2002 May;81(3):407-13.

Modulation of synaptic signalling complexes by Homer proteins.

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1
Department of Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany. thomas@ifn-magdeburg.de

Abstract

The number of neurotransmitter receptors in the postsynaptic membrane and their functional coupling to intracellular signalling cascades are important determinants of synaptic strength--and hence potential targets for plasticity related modulation. In this context, Homer/Vesl proteins have gained particular interest for three main reasons: (i) they constitute part of the molecular scaffold at postsynaptic densities of excitatory synapses in the mammalian brain; (ii) they physically link type-I metabotropic glutamate receptors to the postsynaptic density and to inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptors in the subsynaptic endoplasmic reticulum; and (iii) Homer-1a, which has been categorized as an immediate early gene isoform, exerts dominant-negative activity, suggesting that it is involved in activity dependent rearrangements at synaptic junctions. Although these fundamental aspects have been reviewed previously by Xiao et al., this review will address primarily more recent studies on the regulation of Homer 1a expression and on the role of Homer/Vesl proteins in spine morphogenesis and receptor targeting and signalling.

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