The Journal of biological chemistry

Afadin is required for maintenance of dendritic structure and excitatory tone.

PMID 22948147


The dendritic field of a neuron, which is determined by both dendritic architecture and synaptic strength, defines the synaptic input of a cell. Once established, a neuron's dendritic field is thought to remain relatively stable throughout a cell's lifetime. Perturbations in a dendritic structure or excitatory tone of a cell and thus its dendritic field are cellular alterations thought to be correlated with a number of psychiatric disorders. Although several proteins are known to regulate the development of dendritic arborization, much less is known about the mechanisms that maintain dendritic morphology and synaptic strength. In this study, we find that afadin, a component of N-cadherin·β-catenin·α-N-catenin adhesion complexes, is required for the maintenance of established dendritic arborization and synapse number. We further demonstrate that afadin directly interacts with AMPA receptors and that loss of this protein reduces the surface expression of GluA1- and GluA2-AMPA receptor subunits. Collectively, these data suggest that afadin is required for the maintenance of dendritic structure and excitatory tone.