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Brain Res. 2006 May 23;1090(1):89-98. Epub 2006 May 4.

Neurone specific regulation of dendritic spines in vivo by post synaptic density 95 protein (PSD-95).

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  • 1Department of Pre-Clinical Veterinary Sciences, (RDSVS) Summerhall, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh. EH9 1QH, UK.


Post synaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95) is a postsynaptic adaptor protein coupling the NMDA receptor to downstream signalling pathways underlying plasticity. Mice carrying a targeted gene mutation of PSD-95 show altered behavioural plasticity including spatial learning, neuropathic pain, orientation preference in visual cortical cells, and cocaine sensitisation. These behavioural effects are accompanied by changes in long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission. In vitro studies of PSD-95 signalling indicate that it may play a role in regulating dendritic spine structure. Here, we show that PSD-95 mutant mice have alterations in dendritic spine density in the striatum (a 15% decrease along the dendritic length) and in the hippocampus (a localised 40% increase) without changes in dendritic branch patterns or gross neuronal architecture. These changes in spine density were accompanied by altered expression of proteins known to interact with PSD-95, including NR2B and SAP102, suggesting that PSD-95 plays a role in regulating the expression and activation of proteins found within the NMDA receptor complex. Thus, PSD-95 is an important regulator of neuronal structure as well as plasticity in vivo.

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