[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent molecular genetics studies have suggested various trans-synaptic processes for pathophysiologic mechanisms of neuropsychiatric illnesses. Examination of pre- and post-synaptic scaffolds in the brains of patients would greatly aid further investigation, yet such an approach in human postmortem tissue has yet to be tested. We have examined three methods using density gradient based purification of synaptosomes followed by detergent extraction (Method 1) and the pH based differential extraction of synaptic membranes (Methods 2 and 3). All three methods separated fractions from human postmortem brains that were highly enriched in typical PSD proteins, almost to the exclusion of pre-synaptic proteins. We examined these fractions using electron microscopy (EM) and verified the integrity of the synaptic membrane and PSD fractions derived from human postmortem brain tissues. We analyzed protein composition of the PSD fractions using two dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (2D LC-MS/MS) and observed known PSD proteins by mass spectrometry. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblot studies revealed that expected protein-protein interactions and certain posttranscriptional modulations were maintained in PSD fractions. Our results demonstrate that PSD fractions can be isolated from human postmortem brain tissues with a reasonable degree of integrity. This approach may foster novel postmortem brain research paradigms in which the stoichiometry and protein composition of specific microdomains are examined.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(4):e5251. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variations in the gene encoding the novel protein dysbindin-1 (DTNBP1) are among the most commonly reported genetic variations associated with schizophrenia. Recent studies show that those variations are also associated with cognitive functioning in carriers with and without psychiatric diagnoses, suggesting a general role for dysbindin-1 in cognition. Such a role could stem from the protein's known ability to affect neuronal glutamate release. How dysbindin-1 might affect glutamate release nevertheless remains unknown without the discovery of the protein's neuronal binding partners and its subcellular locus of action. We demonstrate here that snapin is a binding partner of dysbindin-1 in vitro and in the brain. Tissue fractionation of whole mouse brains and human hippocampal formations revealed that both dysbindin-1 and snapin are concentrated in tissue enriched in synaptic vesicle membranes and less commonly in postsynaptic densities. It is not detected in presynaptic tissue fractions lacking synaptic vesicles. Consistent with that finding, immunoelectron microscopy showed that dysbindin-1 is located in (i) synaptic vesicles of axospinous terminals in the dentate gyrus inner molecular layer and CA1 stratum radiatum and in (ii) postsynaptic densities and microtubules of dentate hilus neurons and CA1 pyramidal cells. The labeled synapses are often asymmetric with thick postsynaptic densities suggestive of glutamatergic synapses, which are likely to be derived from dentate mossy cells and CA3 pyramidal cells. The function of dysbindin-1 in presynaptic, postsynaptic and microtubule locations may all be related to known functions of snapin.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/2006; 15(20):3041-54. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent molecular genetics studies implicate neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and its receptor erbB in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Among NRG1 receptors, erbB4 is of particular interest because of its crucial roles in neurodevelopment and in the modulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor signaling. Here, using a new postmortem tissue-stimulation approach, we show a marked increase in NRG1-induced activation of erbB4 in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. Levels of NRG1 and erbB4, however, did not differ between schizophrenia and control groups. To evaluate possible causes for this hyperactivation of erbB4 signaling, we examined the association of erbB4 with PSD-95 (postsynaptic density protein of 95 kDa), as this association has been shown to facilitate activation of erbB4. Schizophrenia subjects showed substantial increases in erbB4-PSD-95 interactions. We found that NRG1 stimulation suppresses NMDA receptor activation in the human prefrontal cortex, as previously reported in the rodent cortex. NRG1-induced suppression of NMDA receptor activation was more pronounced in schizophrenia subjects than in controls, consistent with enhanced NRG1-erbB4 signaling seen in this illness. Therefore, these findings suggest that enhanced NRG1 signaling may contribute to NMDA hypofunction in schizophrenia.
Nature Medicine 08/2006; 12(7):824-8. · 22.86 Impact Factor