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Neuron. 2008 Jan 24;57(2):248-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.11.027.

Molecular dissociation of the role of PSD-95 in regulating synaptic strength and LTD.

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Nancy Pritzker Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.


The postsynaptic density protein PSD-95 influences synaptic AMPA receptor (AMPAR) content and may play a critical role in LTD. Here we demonstrate that the effects of PSD-95 on AMPAR-mediated synaptic responses and LTD can be dissociated. Our findings suggest that N-terminal-domain-mediated dimerization is important for PSD-95's effect on basal synaptic AMPAR function, whereas the C-terminal SH(3)-GK domains are also necessary for localizing PSD-95 to synapses. We identify PSD-95 point mutants (Q15A, E17R) that maintain PSD-95's influence on basal AMPAR synaptic responses yet block LTD. These point mutants increase the proteolysis of PSD-95 within its N-terminal domain, resulting in a C-terminal fragment that functions as a dominant negative likely by scavenging critical signaling proteins required for LTD. Thus, the C-terminal portion of PSD-95 serves a dual function. It is required to localize PSD-95 at synapses and as a scaffold for signaling proteins that are required for LTD.

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