The Shank family of proteins (also termed CortBP, ProSAP, or Synamon) is highly enriched in the postsynaptic density (PSD) of excitatory synapses in brain. Shank contains multiple domains for protein-protein interactions, including ankyrin repeats, SH3 domain, PDZ domain, SAM domain, and an extensive proline-rich region. We have identified a novel protein, termed Sharpin, that directly interacts with the ankyrin repeats of Shank. Sharpin is enriched in the PSD and forms a complex with Shank in heterologous cells and brain. Immunostaining reveals the presence of Sharpin at excitatory synapses and its colocalization with Shank. While the C-terminal half of Sharpin interacts with Shank, the N-terminal half of Sharpin mediates homomultimerization. Considering the fact that the ankyrin repeats and the SH3 domain of Shank can be truncated by alternative splicing, these results define Sharpin as a novel PSD protein that may regulate the complexity of the Shank-based protein network in an alternative splicing-dependent manner.
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