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J Neurochem. 2008 Jan;104(1):187-201. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

SPAR2, a novel SPAR-related protein with GAP activity for Rap1 and Rap2.

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Project Group Neuroplasticity, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany.


Spine-associated RapGAP 2 (SPAR2) is a novel GTPase activating protein (GAP) for the small GTPase Rap that shows significant sequence homology to SPAR, a synaptic RapGAP that was reported to regulate spine morphology in hippocampal neurons. SPAR2, like SPAR, interacts with the recently described synaptic scaffolding protein ProSAP-interacting protein (ProSAPiP), which in turn binds to the PDZ domain of ProSAP/Shank post-synaptic density proteins. In subcellular fractionation experiments, SPAR2 is enriched in synaptosomes and post-synaptic density fractions indicating that it is a synaptic protein. Furthermore, we could show using in vitro GAP assays that SPAR2 has GAP activity for Rap1 and Rap2. Expression in COS-7 cells, however, revealed different actin-binding properties of SPAR2 and SPAR. Additionally, over-expression of SPAR2 in cultured hippocampal neurons did not affect spine morphology as it was reported for SPAR. In situ hybridization studies also revealed a differential tissue distribution of SPAR and SPAR2 with SPAR2 transcripts being mainly expressed in cerebellar and hippocampal granule cells. Moreover, in the cerebellum SPAR2 is developmentally regulated with a peak of expression around the period of synapse formation. Our results imply that SPAR2 is a new RapGAP with specific functions in cerebellar and hippocampal granule cells.

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