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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Coordinating structural and functional synapse development: postsynaptic p21-activated kinase independently specifies glutamate receptor abundance and postsynaptic morphology.

Here, we show that postsynaptic p21-activated kinase (Pak) signaling diverges into two genetically separable pathways at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. One pathway controls glutamate receptor abundance. Pak signaling within this pathway is specified by a required interaction with the adaptor protein Dreadlocks (Dock). We demonstrate that Dock is localized to the synapse via an Src homology 2-mediated protein interaction. Dock is not necessary for Pak localization but is necessary to restrict Pak signaling to control glutamate receptor abundance. A second genetically separable function of Pak kinase signaling controls muscle membrane specialization through the regulation of synaptic Discs-large. In this pathway, Dock is dispensable. We present a model in which divergent Pak signaling is able to coordinate two different features of postsynaptic maturation, receptor abundance, and muscle membrane specialization.[1]


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