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Cereb Cortex. 2012 Jul;22(7):1648-61. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr251. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Colocalization of α-actinin and synaptopodin in the pyramidal cell axon initial segment.

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Department of Functional and Systems Neurobiology, Instituto Cajal, CSIC, 28002 Madrid, Spain.


The cisternal organelle that resides in the axon initial segment (AIS) of neocortical and hippocampal pyramidal cells is thought to be involved in regulating the Ca(2+) available to maintain AIS scaffolding proteins, thereby preserving normal AIS structure and function. Through immunocytochemistry and correlative light and electron microscopy, we show here that the actin-binding protein α-actinin is present in the typical cistenal organelle of rodent pyramidal neurons as well as in a large structure in the AIS of a subpopulation of layer V pyramidal cells that we have called the "giant saccular organelle." Indeed, this localization of α-actinin in the AIS is dependent on the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton. Moreover, in the cisternal organelle of cultured hippocampal neurons, α-actinin colocalizes extensively with synaptopodin, a protein that interacts with both actin and α-actinin, and they appear concomitantly during the development of these neurons. Together, these results indicate that α-actinin and the actin cytoskeleton are important components of the cisternal organelle that are probably required to stabilize the AIS.

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