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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2008 Jun;38(2):138-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2008.02.006. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Adenomatous polyposis coli plays a key role, in vivo, in coordinating assembly of the neuronal nicotinic postsynaptic complex.

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Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The neuronal nicotinic synapse plays a central role in normal cognitive and autonomic function. Molecular mechanisms that direct the assembly of this synapse remain poorly defined, however. We show here that adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) organizes a multi-molecular complex that is essential for targeting alpha3(*)nAChRs to synapses. APC interaction with microtubule plus-end binding protein EB1 is required for alpha3(*)nAChR surface membrane insertion and stabilization. APC brings together EB1, the key cytoskeletal regulators macrophin and IQGAP1, and 14-3-3 adapter protein at nicotinic synapses. 14-3-3, in turn, links the alpha3-subunit to APC. This multi-molecular APC complex stabilizes the local microtubule and F-actin cytoskeleton and links postsynaptic components to the cytoskeleton--essential functions for controlling the molecular composition and stability of synapses. This work identifies macrophin, IQGAP1 and 14-3-3 as novel nicotinic synapse components and defines a new role for APC as an in vivo coordinator of nicotinic postsynaptic assembly in vertebrate neurons.

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