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Ca2+/calmodulin binding to PSD‐95 mediates homeostatic synaptic scaling down


Postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) localizes AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) to postsynaptic sites of glutamatergic synapses. Its postsynaptic displacement is necessary for loss of AMPARs during homeostatic scaling down of synapses. Here, we demonstrate that upon Ca2+ influx, Ca2+/calmodulin (Ca2+/CaM) binding to the N-terminus of PSD-95 mediates postsynaptic loss of PSD-95 and AMPARs during homeostatic scaling down. Our NMR structural analysis identified E17 within the PSD-95 N-terminus as important for binding to Ca2+/CaM by interacting with R126 on CaM. Mutating E17 to R prevented homeostatic scaling down in primary hippocampal neurons, which is rescued via charge inversion by ectopic expression of CaMR126E, as determined by analysis of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents. Accordingly, increased binding of Ca2+/CaM to PSD-95 induced by a chronic increase in Ca2+ influx is a critical molecular event in homeostatic downscaling of glutamatergic synaptic transmission.

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