Fragile X syndrome, as well as other forms of mental retardation and autism, is associated with altered dendritic spine number and structure. Fragile X syndrome is caused by loss-of-function mutations in Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), an RNA-binding protein that regulates protein synthesis in vivo. It is unknown whether FMRP plays a direct, cell-autonomous role in regulation of synapse number, function, or maturation. Here, we report that acute postsynaptic expression of FMRP in Fmr1 knock-out (KO) neurons results in a decrease in the number of functional and structural synapses without an effect on their synaptic strength or maturational state. Similarly, neurons endogenously expressing FMRP (wild-type) have fewer synapses than neighboring Fmr1 KO neurons. An intact K homology domain 2 (KH2) RNA-binding domain and dephosphorylation of FMRP at S500 were required for the effects of FMRP on synapse number, indicating that FMRP interaction with RNA and translating polyribosomes leads to synapse loss.
- Fragile X syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas