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Neuron

A subtype-specific function for the extracellular domain of neuroligin 1 in hippocampal LTP.


PMID 23083734

Abstract

At neuronal excitatory synapses, two major subtypes of the synaptic adhesion molecule neuroligin are present. These subtypes, neuroligin 1 and neuroligin 3, have roles in synaptogenesis and synaptic maintenance that appear largely overlapping. In this study, we combine electrophysiology with molecular deletion and replacement of these proteins to identify similarities and differences between these subtypes. In doing so, we identify a subtype-specific role in LTP for neuroligin 1 in young CA1, which persists into adulthood in the dentate gyrus. As neuroligin 3 showed no requirement for LTP, we constructed chimeric proteins of the two excitatory neuroligin subtypes to identify the molecular determinants particular to the unique function of neuroligin 1. Using in vivo molecular replacement experiments, we find that these unique functions depend on a region in its extracellular domain containing the B site splice insertion previously shown to determine specificity of neurexin binding.

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