Structural Biology

Building the Postsynaptic Density

Science's STKE  31 Jan 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 320, pp. tw44
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3202006tw44

The postsynaptic density (PSD) is a large and dynamic protein complex on the postsynaptic side of neural synapses that helps to communicate incoming signals to cytoplasmic targets. Shank proteins are located deep in the PSD and may be involved in organizing the structure of the complex. Baron et al. have determined the structure of the sterile alpha motif domain of a Shank protein and show that it forms large sheets composed of helical fibers stacked side by side. Sheets of the Shank protein may form a platform for the construction of the PSD complex.

M. K. Baron, T. M. Boeckers, B. Vaida, S. Faham, M. Gingery, M. R. Sawaya, D. Salyer, E. D. Gundelfinger, J. U. Bowie, An architectural framework that may lie at the core of the postsynaptic density. Science 311, 531-535 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]