Clustering and anchoring mechanisms of molecular constituents of postsynaptic scaffolds in dendritic spines

Neurosci Res. 2001 May;40(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-0102(01)00209-7.


Recent technological progress has yielded great amounts of information about the molecular constituents of postsynaptic scaffolds in the dendritic spine. Actin filaments are major cytoskeletal elements in the dendritic spine, and they functionally interact with neurotransmitter receptors via regulatory actin-binding proteins. Drebrin A and alpha-actinin-2 are two major actin-binding proteins in dendritic spines. In adult brains, they are characteristically concentrated in spines, but not in dendritic shafts or cell bodies. Thus, they are part of a unique postsynaptic scaffold consisting of actin filaments, PSD protein family, and neurotransmitter receptors. Localization of NMDA receptors, actin filaments, and actin-binding proteins in spines changes in parallel with development, and in response to synaptic activity. This raises the possibility that clustering and anchoring of these characteristic molecular constituents at postsynaptic scaffolds play important roles in spine function. This article focuses on the clustering and anchoring mechanisms of NMDA receptors and actin filaments, and the involvement of actin-binding proteins, in dendritic spines, and the way in which characteristic postsynaptic scaffolds are built up.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate