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A novel role for psychiatric risk factor Ankyrin-G in regulating glutamatergic synapses

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Mary Rose Branch
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Neurobiology Student Seminar

Recent evidence implicates glutamatergic synapses as key pathogenic sites in psychiatric disorders. Common and rare variants in the ANK3 gene, encoding ankyrin-G, have been associated with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. Here we demonstrate that ankyrin-G is integral to AMPAR-mediated synaptic transmission and maintenance of spine morphology. Using superresolution microscopy we find that ankyrin-G forms distinct nanodomain structures within the spine head and neck. At these sites, it modulates mushroom spine structure and function, probably as a perisynaptic scaffold and barrier within the spine neck. Neuronal activity promotes ankyrin-G accumulation in distinct spine subdomains, where it differentially regulates NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity. These data implicate subsynaptic nanodomains containing a major psychiatric risk molecule, ankyrin-G, as having location-specific functions and open directions for basic and translational investigation of psychiatric risk molecules.