The mechanisms governing the recruitment of functional glutamate receptors at nascent excitatory postsynapses following initial axon-dendrite contact remain unclear. We examined here the ability of neurexin/neuroligin adhesions to mobilize AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) at postsynapses through a diffusion/trap process involving the scaffold molecule PSD-95. Using single nanoparticle tracking in primary rat and mouse hippocampal neurons overexpressing or lacking neuroligin-1 (Nlg1), a striking inverse correlation was found between AMPAR diffusion and Nlg1 expression level. The use of Nlg1 mutants and inhibitory RNAs against PSD-95 demonstrated that this effect depended on intact Nlg1/PSD-95 interactions. Furthermore, functional AMPARs were recruited within 1 h at nascent Nlg1/PSD-95 clusters assembled by neurexin-1β multimers, a process requiring AMPAR membrane diffusion. Triggering novel neurexin/neuroligin adhesions also caused a depletion of PSD-95 from native synapses and a drop in AMPAR miniature EPSCs, indicating a competitive mechanism. Finally, both AMPAR level at synapses and AMPAR-dependent synaptic transmission were diminished in hippocampal slices from newborn Nlg1 knock-out mice, confirming an important role of Nlg1 in driving AMPARs to nascent synapses. Together, these data reveal a mechanism by which membrane-diffusing AMPARs can be rapidly trapped at PSD-95 scaffolds assembled at nascent neurexin/neuroligin adhesions, in competition with existing synapses.
Pubmed ID: 21940442 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Animals | Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal | Female | Guanylate Kinases | Hippocampus | Male | Membrane Potentials | Membrane Proteins | Mice | Mice, Knockout | Mutation | Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules | Patch-Clamp Techniques | Primary Cell Culture | Rats | Receptors, AMPA | Synaptic Transmission | Transfection
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