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Molecular and functional heterogeneity of GABAergic synapses


Fritschy, Jean-Marc; Panzanelli, Patrizia; Tyagarajan, Shiva K (2012). Molecular and functional heterogeneity of GABAergic synapses. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 69(15):2485-2499.

Abstract

Knowledge of the functional organization of the GABAergic system, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter system, in the CNS has increased remarkably in recent years. In particular, substantial progress has been made in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and plasticity of GABAergic synapses. Evidence available ascribes a key role to the cytoplasmic protein gephyrin to form a postsynaptic scaffold anchoring GABA(A) receptors along with other transmembrane proteins and signaling molecules in the postsynaptic density. However, the mechanisms of gephyrin scaffolding remain elusive, notably because gephyrin can auto-aggregate spontaneously and lacks PDZ protein interaction domains found in a majority of scaffolding proteins. In addition, the structural diversity of GABA(A) receptors, which are pentameric channels encoded by a large family of subunits, has been largely overlooked in these studies. Finally, the role of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex, present in a subset of GABAergic synapses in cortical structures, remains ill-defined. In this review, we discuss recent results derived mainly from the analysis of mutant mice lacking a specific GABA(A) receptor subtype or a core protein of the GABAergic postsynaptic density (neuroligin-2, collybistin), highlighting the molecular diversity of GABAergic synapses and its relevance for brain plasticity and function. In addition, we discuss the contribution of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex to the molecular and functional heterogeneity of GABAergic synapses.

Abstract

Knowledge of the functional organization of the GABAergic system, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter system, in the CNS has increased remarkably in recent years. In particular, substantial progress has been made in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and plasticity of GABAergic synapses. Evidence available ascribes a key role to the cytoplasmic protein gephyrin to form a postsynaptic scaffold anchoring GABA(A) receptors along with other transmembrane proteins and signaling molecules in the postsynaptic density. However, the mechanisms of gephyrin scaffolding remain elusive, notably because gephyrin can auto-aggregate spontaneously and lacks PDZ protein interaction domains found in a majority of scaffolding proteins. In addition, the structural diversity of GABA(A) receptors, which are pentameric channels encoded by a large family of subunits, has been largely overlooked in these studies. Finally, the role of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex, present in a subset of GABAergic synapses in cortical structures, remains ill-defined. In this review, we discuss recent results derived mainly from the analysis of mutant mice lacking a specific GABA(A) receptor subtype or a core protein of the GABAergic postsynaptic density (neuroligin-2, collybistin), highlighting the molecular diversity of GABAergic synapses and its relevance for brain plasticity and function. In addition, we discuss the contribution of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex to the molecular and functional heterogeneity of GABAergic synapses.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:August 2012
Deposited On:27 Feb 2013 08:24
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:07
Publisher:Birkhäuser
ISSN:1420-682X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-012-0926-4
PubMed ID:22314501

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