A calcium-regulated MEF2 sumoylation switch controls postsynaptic differentiation

Aryaman Shalizi, Brice Gaudillière, Zengqiang Yuan, Judith Stegmüller, Takahiro Shirogane, Qingyuan Ge, Yi Tan, Brenda Schulman, J. Wade Harper, Azad Bonni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

375 Scopus citations


Postsynaptic differentiation of dendrites is an essential step in synapse formation. We report here a requirement for the transcription factor myocyte enhancer factor 2A (MEF2A) in the morphogenesis of postsynaptic granule neuron dendritic claws in the cerebellar cortex. A transcriptional repressor form of MEF2A that is sumoylated at lysine-403 promoted dendritic claw differentiation. Activity-dependent calcium signaling induced a calcineurin-mediated dephosphorylation of MEF2A at serine-408 and, thereby, promoted a switch from sumoylation to acetylation at lysine-403, which led to inhibition of dendritic claw differentiation. Our findings define a mechanism underlying postsynaptic differentiation that may modulate activity-dependent synapse development and plasticity in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1017
Number of pages6
Issue number5763
StatePublished - Feb 17 2006


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