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N-cadherin mediates plasticity-induced long-term spine stabilization

Pablo Mendez, Mathias De Roo, Lorenzo Poglia, Paul Klauser and Dominique Muller
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 189, No. 3 (MAY 3, 2010), pp. 589-600
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20698088
Page Count: 12
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N-cadherin mediates plasticity-induced long-term spine stabilization
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Abstract

Excitatory synapses on dendritic spines are dynamic structures whose stability can vary from hours to years. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating spine persistence remain essentially unknown. In this study, we combined repetitive imaging and a gain and loss of function approach to test the role of N-cadherin (NCad) on spine stability. Expression of mutant but not wild-type NCad promotes spine turnover and formation of immature spines and interferes with the stabilization of new spines. Similarly, the long-term stability of preexisting spines is reduced when mutant NCad is expressed but enhanced in spines expressing NCad-EGFP clusters. Activity and long-term potentiation (LTP) induction selectively promote formation of NCad clusters in stimulated spines. Although activity-mediated expression of NCad-EGFP switches synapses to a highly stable state, expression of mutant NCad or short hairpin RNA—mediated knockdown of NCad prevents LTP-induced long-term stabilization of synapses. These results identify NCad as a key molecular component regulating long-term synapse persistence.

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