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PirB Restricts Ocular-Dominance Plasticity in Visual Cortex

Science, 22 September 2006
Vol. 313, Issue 5794, p. 1795-1800
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128232

PirB Restricts Ocular-Dominance Plasticity in Visual Cortex

  1. Josh Syken,
  2. Tadzia GrandPre,
  3. Patrick O. Kanold,
  4. Carla J. Shatz*
  1. Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
  1. * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: carla_shatz{at}


Experience can alter synaptic connectivity throughout life, but the degree of plasticity present at each age is regulated by mechanisms that remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Paired-immunoglobulin–like receptor B (PirB), a major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) receptor, is expressed in subsets of neurons throughout the brain. Neuronal PirB protein is associated with synapses and forms complexes with the phosphatases Shp-1 and Shp-2. Soluble PirB fusion protein binds to cortical neurons in an MHCI-dependent manner. In mutant mice lacking functional PirB, cortical ocular-dominance plasticity is more robust at all ages. Thus, an MHCI receptor is expressed in central nervous system neurons and functions to limit the extent of experience-dependent plasticity in the visual cortex throughout life. PirB is also expressed in many other regions of the central nervous system, suggesting that it may function broadly to stabilize neural circuits.

  • Received for publication 3 April 2006.
  • Accepted for publication 31 July 2006.


J. Syken, T. GrandPre, P. O. Kanold, and C. J. Shatz, PirB Restricts Ocular-Dominance Plasticity in Visual Cortex. Science 313, 1795-1800 (2006).

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