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Neuron. 2008 Dec 10;60(5):788-802. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.10.014.

Destabilization of the postsynaptic density by PSD-95 serine 73 phosphorylation inhibits spine growth and synaptic plasticity.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Erratum in

  • Neuron. 2009 Jan 15;61(1):152.


Long-term potentiation (LTP) is accompanied by dendritic spine growth and changes in the composition of the postsynaptic density (PSD). We find that activity-dependent growth of apical spines of CA1 pyramidal neurons is accompanied by destabilization of the PSD that results in transient loss and rapid replacement of PSD-95 and SHANK2. Signaling through PSD-95 is required for activity-dependent spine growth and trafficking of SHANK2. N-terminal PDZ and C-terminal guanylate kinase domains of PSD-95 are required for both processes, indicating that PSD-95 coordinates multiple signals to regulate morphological plasticity. Activity-dependent trafficking of PSD-95 is triggered by phosphorylation at serine 73, a conserved calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) consensus phosphorylation site, which negatively regulates spine growth and potentiation of synaptic currents. We propose that PSD-95 and CaMKII act at multiple steps during plasticity induction to initially trigger and later terminate spine growth by trafficking growth-promoting PSD proteins out of the active spine.

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