SAP90/PSD-95 is thought to be a central organizer of the glutamatergic synapse postsynaptic reception apparatus. To assess its potential role during glutamatergic synapse formation, we used GFP-tagged SAP90/PSD-95, time lapse confocal microscopy, and cultured hippocampal neurons to determine its dynamic recruitment into new synaptic junctions. We report that new SAP90/PSD-95 clusters first appeared at new axodendritic contact sites within 20-60 min of contact establishment. SAP90/PSD-95 clustering was rapid, with kinetics that fit a single exponential with a mean time constant of approximately 23 min. Most new SAP90/PSD-95 clusters were found juxtaposed to functional presynaptic boutons as determined by labeling with FM 4-64. No evidence was found for the existence of discrete transport particles similar to those previously reported to mediate presynaptic active zone cytoskeleton assembly. Instead, we found that SAP90/PSD-95 is recruited to nascent synapses from a diffuse dendritic cytoplasmic pool. Our findings show that SAP90/PSD-95 is recruited to nascent synaptic junctions early during the assembly process and indicate that its assimilation is fundamentally different from that of presynaptic active zone components.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.