Lipid rafts are dynamic membrane microdomains enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids involved in the compartmentalization of signaling pathways, trafficking and sorting of proteins. At synapses, the glutamatergic NMDA receptor and its cytoplasmic scaffold protein PSD-95 move between postsynaptic density (PSD) and rafts following learning or ischemia. However it is not known whether the signaling complexes formed by these proteins are different in rafts nor the molecular mechanisms that govern their localization. To examine these issues in vivo we used mice carrying genetically encoded tags for purification of protein complexes and specific mutations in NMDA receptors, PSD-95 and other postsynaptic scaffold proteins. Isolation of PSD-95 complexes from mice carrying tandem affinity purification tags showed differential composition in lipid rafts, postsynaptic density and detergent-soluble fractions. Raft PSD-95 complexes showed less CaMKIIα and SynGAP and enrichment in Src and Arc/Arg3.1 compared with PSD complexes. Mice carrying knockouts of PSD-95 or PSD-93 show a key role for PSD-95 in localizing NR2A-containing NMDA receptor complexes to rafts. Deletion of the NR2A C terminus or the C-terminal valine residue of NR2B, which prevents all PDZ interactions, reduced the NR1 association with rafts. Interestingly, the deletion of the NR2B valine residue increased the total amount of lipid rafts. These data show critical roles for scaffold proteins and their interactions withNMDAreceptor subunits in organizing the differential expression in rafts and postsynaptic densities of synaptic signaling complexes.
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