Doctor of Philosophy, University of Auckland (2012)
Master of Medicine, Unlisted University (1997)
Vernon Madison, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Mutations in several postsynaptic proteins have recently been implicated in the molecular pathogenesis of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), including Neuroligins, Neurexins, and members of the ProSAP/Shank family, thereby suggesting that these genetic forms of autism may share common synaptic mechanisms. Initial studies of ASD-associated mutations in ProSAP2/Shank3 support a role for this protein in glutamate receptor function and spine morphology, but these synaptic phenotypes are not universally penetrant, indicating that other core facets of ProSAP2/Shank3 function must underlie synaptic deficits in patients with ASDs. In the present study, we have examined whether the ability of ProSAP2/Shank3 to interact with the cytoplasmic tail of Neuroligins functions to coordinate pre/postsynaptic signaling through the Neurexin-Neuroligin signaling complex in hippocampal neurons of Rattus norvegicus. Indeed, we find that synaptic levels of ProSAP2/Shank3 regulate AMPA and NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission and induce widespread changes in the levels of presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins via Neurexin-Neuroligin transsynaptic signaling. ASD-associated mutations in ProSAP2/Shank3 disrupt not only postsynaptic AMPA and NMDA receptor signaling but also interfere with the ability of ProSAP2/Shank3 to signal across the synapse to alter presynaptic structure and function. These data indicate that ASD-associated mutations in a subset of synaptic proteins may target core cellular pathways that coordinate the functional matching and maturation of excitatory synapses in the CNS.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2215-12.2012
View details for Web of Science ID 000310523900013
View details for PubMedID 23100419
SAP97 is a multidomain scaffold protein implicated in the forward trafficking and synaptic localization of NMDA- and AMPA-type glutamate receptors. Alternative splicing of SAP97 transcripts gives rise to palmitoylated ?SAP97 and L27-domain containing ?SAP97 isoforms that differentially regulate the subsynaptic localization of GluR1 subunits of AMPA receptors. Here, we examined whether SAP97 isoforms regulate the mechanisms underlying long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD) and find that both ?- and ?-forms of SAP97 impair LTP but enhance LTD via independent isoform-specific mechanisms. Live imaging of ?- and ?SAP97 revealed that the altered synaptic plasticity was not due to activity-dependent changes in SAP97 localization or exchange kinetics. However, by recording from pairs of synaptically coupled hippocampal neurons, we show that ?SAP97 occludes LTP by enhancing the levels of postsynaptic AMPA receptors, while ?SAP97 blocks LTP by reducing the synaptic localization of NMDA receptors. Examination of the surface pools of AMPA and NMDA receptors indicates that ?SAP97 selectively regulates the synaptic pool of AMPA receptors, whereas ?SAP97 regulates the extrasynaptic pools of both AMPA and NMDA receptors. Knockdown of ?SAP97 increases the synaptic localization of both AMPA and NMDA receptors, showing that endogenous ?SAP97 restricts glutamate receptor expression at excitatory synapses. This isoform-dependent differential regulation of synaptic versus extrasynaptic pools of glutamate receptors will determine how many receptors are available for the induction and the expression of synaptic plasticity. Our data support a model wherein SAP97 isoforms can regulate the ability of synapses to undergo plasticity by controlling the surface distribution of AMPA and NMDA receptors.
View details for DOI 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.215566
View details for Web of Science ID 000295050800011
View details for PubMedID 21768261
The synaptic insertion of GluR1-containing AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) is critical for synaptic plasticity. However, mechanisms responsible for GluR1 insertion and retention at the synapse are unclear. The synapse-associated protein SAP97 directly binds GluR1 and participates in its forward trafficking from the Golgi network to the plasma membrane. Whether SAP97 also plays a role in scaffolding GluR1 at the postsynaptic membrane is controversial, attributable to its expression as a collection of alternatively spliced isoforms with ill-defined spatial and temporal distributions. In the present study, we have used live imaging and electrophysiology to demonstrate that two postsynaptic, N-terminal isoforms of SAP97 directly modulate the levels, dynamics, and function of synaptic GluR1-containing AMPARs. Specifically, the unique N-terminal domains confer distinct subsynaptic localizations onto SAP97, targeting the palmitoylated alpha-isoform to the postsynaptic density (PSD) and the L27 domain-containing beta-isoform primarily to non-PSD, perisynaptic regions. Consequently, alpha- and betaSAP97 differentially influence the subsynaptic localization and dynamics of AMPARs by creating binding sites for GluR1-containing receptors within their respective subdomains. These results indicate that N-terminal splicing of SAP97 can control synaptic strength by regulating the distribution of AMPARs and, hence, their responsiveness to presynaptically released glutamate.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4431-08.2009
View details for Web of Science ID 000265009600002
View details for PubMedID 19357261