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Dendrites$
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Greg Stuart, Nelson Spruston, and Michael Häusser

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198745273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198745273.001.0001

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Structure and molecular organization of the postsynaptic density

Structure and molecular organization of the postsynaptic density

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter 6 Structure and molecular organization of the postsynaptic density
Source:
Dendrites
Author(s):

Natasha K. Hussain

Richard L. Huganir

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198745273.003.0006

The morphology and molecular composition of synapses provide the basis of communication between neurons. Synapses are highly ordered, having developed structural and molecular specializations at their pre- and postsynaptic sites. At excitatory synapses, presynaptic sites of communication are faithfully juxtaposed to the postsynaptic density (PSD), an organized micro-compartment housed beneath the postsynaptic membrane. This largely invariant association suggests that the PSD is tightly coupled to synaptic function, allowing the pre-and postsynapse to form a cohesive unit. The PSD comprises several hundred proteins, including receptors, cytoskeletal, scaffolding, and signal transduction components. The organization of the PSD plays a central role in linking the molecular machinery responsible for neurotransmission to synaptic plasticity. This chapter details the structural organization of the PSD, with a particular emphasis on how its molecular constituents influence the structure and function of glutamatergic synapses.

Keywords:   postsynaptic density, PSD, synaptic plasticity, scaffold protein, signal transduction, neurotransmission, glutamatergic synapse

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