Kalirin, a Key Player in Synapse Formation, Is Implicated in Human Diseases

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Abstract

Synapse formation is considered to be crucial for learning and memory. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of synapse formation is a key to understanding learning and memory. Kalirin-7, a major isoform of Kalirin in adult rodent brain, is an essential component of mature excitatory synapses. Kalirin-7 interacts with multiple PDZ-domain-containing proteins including PSD95, spinophilin, and GluR1 through its PDZ-binding motif. In cultured hippocampal/cortical neurons, overexpression of Kalirin-7 increases spine density and spine size whereas reduction of endogenous Kalirin-7 expression decreases synapse number, and spine density. In Kalirin-7 knockout mice, spine length, synapse number, and postsynaptic density (PSD) size are decreased in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons; these morphological alterations are accompanied by a deficiency in long-term potentiation (LTP) and a decreased spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency. Human Kalirin-7, also known as Duo or Huntingtin-associated protein-interacting protein (HAPIP), is equivalent to rat Kalirin-7. Recent studies show that Kalirin is relevant to many human diseases such as Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, ischemic stroke, schizophrenia, depression, and cocaine addiction. This paper summarizes our recent understanding of Kalirin function.

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Source: Hindawi Publishing Corporation

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