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Front Mol Neurosci. 2008 Mar 28;1:4. doi: 10.3389/neuro.02.004.2008. eCollection 2008.

Excitation Control: Balancing PSD-95 Function at the Synapse.

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Department of Psychiatry and the Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Excitability of individual neurons dictates the overall excitation in specific brain circuits. This process is thought to be regulated by molecules that regulate synapse number, morphology and strength. Neuronal excitation is also influenced by the amounts of neurotransmitter receptors and signaling molecules retained at particular synaptic sites. Recent studies revealed a key role for PSD-95, a scaffolding molecule enriched at glutamatergic synapses, in modulation of clustering of several neurotransmitter receptors, adhesion molecules, ion channels, cytoskeletal elements and signaling molecules at postsynaptic sites. In this review we will highlight mechanisms that control targeting of PSD-95 at the synapse, and discuss how this molecule influences the retention and clustering of diverse synaptic proteins to regulate synaptic structure and strength. We will also discuss how PSD-95 may maintain a balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain and how alterations in this balance may contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders.


PSD-95; adhesion molecule; excitation; glutamate; homeostasis; inhibition; plasticity; scaffold molecule

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