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Much is known about the composition and function of the postsynaptic density (PSD), but less is known about its molecular organization. We use EM tomography to delineate the organization of PSDs at glutamatergic synapses in rat hippocampal cultures. The core of the PSD is dominated by vertically oriented filaments, and ImmunoGold labeling shows that PSD-95(More)
Introduction Electron microscopic (EM) tomography is proving useful for examining the organization of protein molecules in large molecular machines at critical neural sites, such as synapses. Methods are still in a state of flux, and many steps exist between a neuron and a molecular model of one of its synapses. Here, we show our approach for doing(More)
The total molecular mass of individual postsynaptic densities (PSDs) isolated from rat forebrain was measured by scanning transmission EM. PSDs had a mean diameter of 360 nm and molecular mass of 1.10 +/- 0.36 GDa. Because the mass represents the sum of the molecular masses of all of the molecules comprising a PSD, it becomes possible to derive the number(More)
Postsynaptic densities (PSDs) contain proteins that regulate synaptic transmission. We determined the positions of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and PSD-95 within the three-dimensional structure of isolated PSDs using immunogold labeling, rotary shadowing, and electron microscopic tomography. The results show that all PSDs contain(More)
We compared the distribution of three scaffolding proteins, all belonging to a family of membrane-associated guanylate kinases, thought to have key roles in the organization of the postsynaptic density (PSD). Isolated PSDs readily adhered to treated glass coverslips where they were labeled with immunogold and rotary shadowed for analysis by EM. The(More)
PSD-95, a membrane-associated guanylate kinase, is the major scaffolding protein in the excitatory postsynaptic density (PSD) and a potent regulator of synaptic strength. Here we show that PSD-95 is in an extended configuration and positioned into regular arrays of vertical filaments that contact both glutamate receptors and orthogonal horizontal elements(More)
The mechanisms controlling synapse growth and maintenance are of critical importance for learning and memory. The MAGUK family of synaptic scaffolding proteins is abundantly expressed at glutamatergic central synapses, but their importance in controlling the synaptic content of glutamate receptors is poorly understood. Here, we use a chained RNAi-mediated(More)
The postsynaptic density (PSD)-95 family of membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUKs) are major scaffolding proteins at the PSD in glutamatergic excitatory synapses, where they maintain and modulate synaptic strength. How MAGUKs underlie synaptic strength at the molecular level is still not well understood. Here, we explore the structural and(More)
Electron microscopy has revealed an abundance of material in the clefts of synapses in the mammalian brain, and the biochemical and functional characteristics of proteins occupying synaptic clefts are well documented. However, the detailed spatial organization of the proteins in the synaptic clefts remains unclear. Electron microscope tomography provides a(More)
UNLABELLED Synaptic transmission between neurons requires precise management of synaptic vesicles. While individual molecular components of the presynaptic terminal are well known, exactly how the molecules are organized into a molecular machine serving the storage and mobilization of synaptic vesicles to the active zone remains unclear. Here we report(More)