PDZ domain proteins of synapses

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Oct;5(10):771-81. doi: 10.1038/nrn1517.


PDZ domains are protein-interaction domains that are often found in multi-domain scaffolding proteins. PDZ-containing scaffolds assemble specific proteins into large molecular complexes at defined locations in the cell. In the postsynaptic density of neuronal excitatory synapses, PDZ proteins such as PSD-95 organize glutamate receptors and their associated signalling proteins and determine the size and strength of synapses. PDZ scaffolds also function in the dynamic trafficking of synaptic proteins by assembling cargo complexes for transport by molecular motors. As key organizers that control synaptic protein composition and structure, PDZ scaffolds are themselves highly regulated by synthesis and degradation, subcellular distribution and post-translational modification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / classification
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Synapses / classification
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • postsynaptic density proteins