Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Dynamics of Dendritic Spines

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Science's STKE  08 Aug 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 44, pp. tw6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.44.tw6

Spinophilin is a cytoskeletal protein that is enriched in the spines of neuronal dendrites, and its association with actin and protein phosphatase-1 (PP-1) suggests an important regulatory function. By knocking out the spinophilin gene in mice, Feng et al. show that, in the absence of this protein, dendrite morphology and function are altered. The abundance of spines increased during early development in the knockout mice, suggesting that spinophilin regulates their initial outgrowth from dendrites. In addition, glutamatergic synaptic transmission was altered such that long-term depression was reduced. The authors propose that in the absence of spinophilin, PP-1 may not be brought into the vicinity of important targets including actin and glutamate receptors.

Feng, J., Yan, Z., Ferreira, A., Tomizawa, K., Liauw, J.A., Zhuo, M., Allen, P.B., Ouimet, C.C., and Greengard, P. (2000) Spinophilin regulates the formation and function of dendritic spines. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 97: 9287-9292. [Abstract] [Full Text]