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Eur J Neurosci. 2013 Feb;37(4):544-54. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12078. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Direct binding of GABAA receptor β2 and β3 subunits to gephyrin.

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Department of Chemistry, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


GABAergic transmission is essential to brain function, and a large repertoire of GABA type A receptor (GABA(A) R) subunits is at a neuron's disposition to serve this function. The glycine receptor (GlyR)-associated protein gephyrin has been shown to be essential for the clustering of a subset of GABA(A) R. Despite recent progress in the field of gephyrin-dependent mechanisms of postsynaptic GABA(A) R stabilisation, the role of gephyrin in synaptic GABA(A) R localisation has remained a complex matter with many open questions. Here, we analysed comparatively the interaction of purified rat gephyrin and mouse brain gephyrin with the large cytoplasmic loops of GABA(A) R α1, α2, β2 and β3 subunits. Binding affinities were determined using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, and showed an ~ 20-fold lower affinity of the β2 loop to gephyrin as compared to the GlyR β loop-gephyrin interaction. We also probed in vivo binding in primary cortical neurons by the well-established use of chimaeras of GlyR α1 that harbour respective gephyrin-binding motifs derived from the different GABA(A) R subunits. These studies identify a novel gephyrin-binding motif in GABA(A) R β2 and β3 large cytoplasmic loops.

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