Cadherins organize symmetrical junctions between the pre- and postsynaptic membranes in central synapses. One of them, cadherin-11 (cad11), is expressed in the limbic system of the brain, most strongly in the hippocampus. Immunohistochemical studies of the hippocampus showed that cad11 proteins were densely distributed in its synaptic neuropil zones; in cultured hippocampal neurons, their distribution often overlapped with that of synaptophysin, and also occasionally with that of GluR1 at spines. To assess the role of cad11 in synaptic formation and/or function, we analyzed brains of cad11-deficient mice. In these mice, long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of the hippocampus was, unexpectedly, enhanced; and the level of LTP saturation was increased. In behavioral tests, the mutant mice showed reduced fear-or anxiety-related responses. These results suggest that the cad11-mediated junctions may modulate synaptic efficacy, confining its dynamic changes to a limited range, or these junctions are required for normal development of synaptic organization in the hippocampus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology