Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS

SPIN90 dephosphorylation is required for cofilin-mediated actin depolymerization in NMDA-stimulated hippocampal neurons.

PMID 23765104


Actin plays a fundamental role in the regulation of spine morphology (both shrinkage and enlargement) upon synaptic activation. In particular, actin depolymerization is crucial for the spine shrinkage in NMDAR-mediated synaptic depression. Here, we define the role of SPIN90 phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in regulating actin depolymerization via modulation of cofilin activity. When neurons were treated with NMDA, SPIN90 was dephosphorylated by STEP61 (striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase) and translocated from the spines to the dendritic shafts. In addition, phosphorylated SPIN90 bound cofilin and then inhibited cofilin activity, suggesting that SPIN90 dephosphorylation is a prerequisite step for releasing cofilin so that cofilin can adequately sever actin filaments into monomeric form. We found that SPIN90 YE, a phosphomimetic mutant, remained in the spines after NMDAR activation where it bound cofilin, thereby effectively preventing actin depolymerization. This led to inhibition of the activity-dependent redistribution of cortactin and drebrin A, as well as of the morphological changes in the spines that underlie synaptic plasticity. These findings indicate that NMDA-induced SPIN90 dephosphorylation and translocation initiates cofilin-mediated actin dynamics and spine shrinkage within dendritic spines, thereby modulating synaptic activity.