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

Structure function and splice site analysis of the synaptogenic activity of the neurexin-1beta LNS domain.

Recent findings suggest that the neurexin-neuroligin link promotes both GABAergic and glutamatergic synaptogenesis, but the mechanism by which neurexins influence the clustering of appropriate neuroligins and postsynaptic differentiation remains unclear. Previous studies suggested that the presence or absence of alternatively spliced residues at splice site 4 ( S4) in the neurexin LNS domain may regulate neurexin function. We demonstrate that addition of the S4 insert selectively reduces the ability of neurexin-1beta to cluster neuroligin-1/3/4 and glutamatergic postsynaptic proteins, although clustering of neuroligin-2 and GABAergic postsynaptic proteins remain strong. Furthermore, addition of the S4 insert decreases the binding affinity of neurexin-1beta to neuroligins-1 and -4 but has little effect on binding to neuroligins-2 and -3. Additional structure-function studies reveal the neurexin binding interface mediating synaptogenic activity to be composed primarily of residues in the beta2beta3, beta6beta7, and beta10beta11 loops on one rim of the LNS domain beta sandwich. Mutation of two predicted Ca(2+)-binding residues disrupts postsynaptic protein clustering and binding to neuroligins, consistent with previous findings that neurexin-neuroligin binding is Ca2+ dependent. Glutamatergic postsynaptic clustering was more readily disrupted by the mutagenesis than GABAergic postsynaptic protein clustering. Perhaps neurexins-neuroligins, or neurexin-1beta at least, is most important for GABA synapse formation or controlling the balance of GABA and glutamate synapses. These results suggest that differential neurexin-neuroligin binding affinities and splice variations may play an instructive role in postsynaptic differentiation.[1]


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