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

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.

Published in:
Neuron, 40, 4, 719-31
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

 Record created 2008-02-18, last modified 2018-03-17

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