Gamma-protocadherin localization at the synapse is associated with parameters of synaptic maturation.

Nicole LaMassa, Hanna Sverdlov, Aliya Mambetalieva, Stacy Shapiro, Michael Bucaro, Monica Fernandez‐Monreal, Greg R. Phillips
J Comp Neurol. 2021-01-06; :
DOI: 10.1002/cne.25102

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LaMassa N(1)(2), Sverdlov H(2), Mambetalieva A(2), Shapiro S(2), Bucaro M(2), Fernandez-Monreal M(3), Phillips GR(1)(2)(4).

Author information:
(1)Program in Biology, Neuroscience Subprogram, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, New York, USA.
(2)Department of Biology, College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York, New York, USA.
(3)University of Bordeaux, CNRS, INSERM, Bordeaux Imaging Center, BIC, UMS 3420, US 4, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
(4)Center for Developmental Neuroscience, College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York, New York, USA.

Clustered protocadherins (Pcdhs) are a family of ~60 cadherin-like proteins (divided into subclasses α, β, and γ) that regulate dendrite morphology and neural connectivity. Their expression is controlled through epigenetic regulation
at a gene cluster encoding the molecules. During neural development, Pcdhs mediate dendrite self-avoidance in some neuronal types through an uncharacterized anti-adhesive mechanism. Pcdhs are also important for dendritic complexity in cortical neurons likely through a pro-adhesive mechanism. Pcdhs have also been postulated to participate in synaptogenesis and connectivity. Some synaptic defects were noted in knockout animals, including synaptic number and physiology, but the role of these molecules in synaptic development is not understood. The effect of Pcdh knockout on dendritic patterning may present a confound to studying synaptogenesis. We showed previously that Pcdh-γs are highly enriched in intracellular compartments in dendrites and spines with localization at only a few synaptic clefts. To gain insight into how Pcdh-γs might affect synapses, we compared synapses that harbored Pcdh-γs versus those that did not for parameters of synaptic maturation including pre- and postsynaptic size, postsynaptic perforations, and spine morphology by light microscopy in cultured hippocampal neurons and by serial section immuno-electron microscopy in hippocampal CA1. In mature neurons, synapses immunopositive for Pcdh-γs were larger in diameter with more frequent perforations. Analysis of spines in cultured neurons revealed that mushroom spines were more frequently immunopositive for Pcdh-γs at their tips than thin spines. These results suggest that Pcdh-γ function at the synapse may be related to promotion of synaptic maturation and stabilization.

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