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Publications (3)52.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders comprise a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and by repetitive behaviour. Mutations in synaptic proteins such as neuroligins, neurexins, GKAPs/SAPAPs and ProSAPs/Shanks were identified in patients with autism spectrum disorder, but the causative mechanisms remain largely unknown. ProSAPs/Shanks build large homo- and heteromeric protein complexes at excitatory synapses and organize the complex protein machinery of the postsynaptic density in a laminar fashion. Here we demonstrate that genetic deletion of ProSAP1/Shank2 results in an early, brain-region-specific upregulation of ionotropic glutamate receptors at the synapse and increased levels of ProSAP2/Shank3. Moreover, ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mutants exhibit fewer dendritic spines and show reduced basal synaptic transmission, a reduced frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and enhanced N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-mediated excitatory currents at the physiological level. Mutants are extremely hyperactive and display profound autistic-like behavioural alterations including repetitive grooming as well as abnormalities in vocal and social behaviours. By comparing the data on ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mutants with ProSAP2/Shank3αβ(-/-) mice, we show that different abnormalities in synaptic glutamate receptor expression can cause alterations in social interactions and communication. Accordingly, we propose that appropriate therapies for autism spectrum disorders are to be carefully matched to the underlying synaptopathic phenotype.
    Nature 06/2012; 486(7402):256-60. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Midbrain raphe nuclei provide strong serotonergic projections to the hippocampus, in which serotonin (5-HT) exerts differential effects mediated by multiple 5-HT receptor subtypes. The functional relevance of this diversity of information processing is poorly understood. Here we show that serotonin via 5-HT(1B) heteroreceptors substantially reduces synaptic excitation of cholecystokinin-expressing interneurons in area CA1 of the rat hippocampus, in contrast to parvalbumin-expressing basket cells. The reduction is input specific, affecting only glutamatergic synaptic transmission originating from CA1 pyramidal cells. As a result, serotonin selectively decreases feedback inhibition via 5-HT(1B) receptor activation and subsequently increases the integration time window for spike generation in CA1 pyramidal cells. Our data imply an important role for serotonergic modulation of GABAergic action in subcortical control of hippocampal output.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2011; 31(23):8464-75. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroligins are postsynaptic cell adhesion molecules that associate with presynaptic neurexins. Both factors form a transsynaptic connection, mediate signaling across the synapse, specify synaptic functions, and play a role in synapse formation. Neuroligin dysfunction impairs synaptic transmission, disrupts neuronal networks, and is thought to participate in cognitive diseases. Here we report that chemical treatment designed to induce long-term potentiation or long-term depression (LTD) induces neuroligin 1/3 turnover, leading to either increased or decreased surface membrane protein levels, respectively. Despite its structural role at a crucial transsynaptic position, GFP-neuroligin 1 leaves synapses in hippocampal neurons over time with chemical LTD-induced neuroligin internalization depending on an intact microtubule cytoskeleton. Accordingly, neuroligin 1 and its binding partner postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) associate with components of the dynein motor complex and undergo retrograde cotransport with a dynein subunit. Transgenic depletion of dynein function in mice causes postsynaptic NLG1/3 and PSD-95 enrichment. In parallel, PSD lengths and spine head sizes are significantly increased, a phenotype similar to that observed upon transgenic overexpression of NLG1 (Dahlhaus et al., 2010). Moreover, application of a competitive PSD-95 peptide and neuroligin 1 C-terminal mutagenesis each specifically alter neuroligin 1 surface membrane expression and interfere with its internalization. Our data suggest the concept that synaptic plasticity regulates neuroligin turnover through active cytoskeleton transport.
    Journal of Neuroscience 09/2010; 30(38):12733-44. · 6.91 Impact Factor