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Published February 15, 1996 | Published
Journal Article Open

PSD-95 Is Associated with the Postsynaptic Density and Not with the Presynaptic Membrane at Forebrain Synapses


PSD-95, a prominent protein component of the postsynaptic density (PSD) fraction from rat forebrain, has been localized by light microscopy to dendrites of hippocampal neurons (Cho et al., 1992) and to the presynaptic plexus of cerebellar basket cells (Kistner et al., 1993). Here we extend these studies to show that an affinity-purified antibody to PSD-95 labels the dendrites of most neurons in the forebrain and of a subset of neurons in the cerebellum. To confirm that PSD-95 is associated with the PSD at forebrain synapses and to clarify whether it is also associated with the presynaptic membrane, we employed immunogold electron microscopy of forebrain synaptosomes. Gold-labeled antibodies to PSD-95 labeled postsynaptic densities in both intact and lysed forebrain synaptosomes but did not label presynaptic terminals or the presynaptic membrane. The asymmetric distribution of PSD-95 at synapses contrasts with that of its homologs, disks-large and ZO-1, which are arranged symmetrically at septate and tight junctions, respectively.

Additional Information

© 1996 by Society for Neuroscience. Received Oct. 10, 1995; revised Nov. 27, 1995; accepted Dec. 1, 1995. This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant NS28710 to MBK, and by the National Institute of Mental Health Training Grant MH09810 to C.A.H. We thank Pat Koen for help with electron microscopy and Jim Stub for excellent assistance with the printing of photographs.

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