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Published September 24, 2015 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Electron tomographic structure and protein composition of isolated rat cerebellar, hippocampal and cortical postsynaptic densities


Electron tomography and immunogold labeling were used to analyze similarities and differences in the morphology and protein composition of postsynaptic densities (PSDs) isolated from adult rat cerebella, hippocampi, and cortices. There were similarities in physical dimensions and gross morphology between cortical, hippocampal and most cerebellar PSDs, although the morphology among cerebellar PSDs could be categorized into three distinct groups. The majority of cerebellar PSDs were composed of dense regions of protein, similar to cortical and hippocampal PSDs, while others were either composed of granular or lattice-like protein regions. Significant differences were found in protein composition and organization across PSDs from the different brain regions. The signaling protein, βCaMKII, was found to be a major component of each PSD type and was more abundant than αCaMKII in both hippocampal and cerebellar PSDs. The scaffold molecule PSD-95, a major component of cortical PSDs, was found absent in a fraction of cerebellar PSDs and when present was clustered in its distribution. In contrast, immunogold labeling for the proteasome was significantly more abundant in cerebellar and hippocampal PSDs than cortical PSDs. Together, these results indicate that PSDs exhibit remarkable diversity in their composition and morphology, presumably as a reflection of the unique functional demands placed on different synapses.

Additional Information

© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. on behalf of IBRO. Accepted 21 July 2015, Available online 26 July 2015. This work was supported by a grant from the NIH/NINDS R01NS026086. M.N.W. also acknowledges an endowment from the William Wheless III Professorship. M.M.F. acknowledges support from the NIH Training Grant 5T32GM008280, during earlier portions of this work, as well as current support from a Ruth Kirschstein NRSA award from the NIH/NINDS; F31NS084671. The Polara electron microscope was supported, in part, through the Structural Biology Imaging Center at UTHSC – Houston.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023