Despite the central role PSD-95 plays in anchoring postsynaptic AMPARs, how PSD-95 itself is tethered to postsynaptic sites is not well understood. Here we show that the F-actin binding protein α-actinin binds to the very N terminus of PSD-95. Knockdown (KD) of α-actinin phenocopies KD of PSD-95. Mutating lysine at position 10 or lysine at position 11 of PSD-95 to glutamate, or glutamate at position 53 or glutamate and aspartate at positions 213 and 217 of α-actinin, respectively, to lysine impairs, in parallel, PSD-95 binding to α-actinin and postsynaptic localization of PSD-95 and AMPARs. These experiments identify α-actinin as a critical PSD-95 anchor tethering the AMPAR-PSD-95 complex to postsynaptic sites. Matt et al. introduce α-actinin as a critical postsynaptic docking protein for PSD-95 and AMPARs. They found that disruption of the PSD-95-α-actinin interaction by point-mutating the essential residues on either protein leads to reduced synaptic localization of PSD-95 and AMPARs.
- AMPA receptors
- dendritic spines