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Role of beta-catenin in synaptic vesicle localization and presynaptic assembly.

Bamji S.X., Shimazu K., Kimes N., Huelsken J., Birchmeier W., Lu B., Reichardt L.F.

Cadherins and catenins are thought to promote adhesion between pre and postsynaptic elements in the brain. Here we show a role for beta-catenin in localizing the reserved pool of vesicles at presynaptic sites. Deletion of beta-catenin in hippocampal pyramidal neurons in vivo resulted in a reduction in the number of reserved pool vesicles per synapse and an impaired response to prolonged repetitive stimulation. This corresponded to a dispersion of vesicles along the axon in cultured neurons. Interestingly, these effects are not due to beta-catenin's involvement in cadherin-mediated adhesion or wnt signaling. Instead, beta-catenin modulates vesicle localization via its PDZ binding domain to recruit PDZ proteins such as Veli to cadherin at synapses. This study defines a specific role for cadherins and catenins in synapse organization beyond their roles in mediating cell adhesion.

Neuron 40:719-731(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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