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Science. 2006 Jan 27;311(5760):531-5.

An architectural framework that may lie at the core of the postsynaptic density.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 611 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1570, USA.


The postsynaptic density (PSD) is a complex assembly of proteins associated with the postsynaptic membrane that organizes neurotransmitter receptors, signaling pathways, and regulatory elements within a cytoskeletal matrix. Here we show that the sterile alpha motif domain of rat Shank3/ProSAP2, a master scaffolding protein located deep within the PSD, can form large sheets composed of helical fibers stacked side by side. Zn2+, which is found in high concentrations in the PSD, binds tightly to Shank3 and may regulate assembly. Sheets of the Shank protein could form a platform for the construction of the PSD complex.

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