Antibodies to Inhibitory Synaptic Proteins in Neurological Syndromes Associated with Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Autoimmunity
The neurotransmitters GABA and glycine mediate fast synaptic inhibition by activating ligand-gated chloride channels — namely, type A GABA (GABAA) and glycine receptors. Both types of receptors are anchored postsynaptically by gephyrin, which self-assembles into a scaffold and interacts with the cytoskeleton. Current research indicates that postsynaptic gephyrin clusters are dynamic assemblies that are held together and regulated by multiple protein–protein interactions. Moreover, post-translational modifications of gephyrin regulate the formation and plasticity of GABAergic synapses by altering the clustering properties of postsynaptic scaffolds and thereby the availability and function of receptors and other signalling molecules. Here, we discuss the formation and regulation of the gephyrin scaffold, its role in GABAergic and glycinergic synaptic function and the implications for the pathophysiology of brain disorders caused by abnormal inhibitory neurotransmission.