PSD-95-like, disc-large (DLG) family membrane-associated guanylate kinase proteins (PSD/DLG-MAGUKs) are essential for regulating synaptic AMPA receptor (AMPAR) function and activity-dependent trafficking of AMPARs. Using a molecular replacement strategy to replace endogenous PSD-95 with SAP97β, we show that the prototypic β-isoform of the PSD-MAGUKs, SAP97β, has distinct NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent roles in regulating basic properties of AMPAR-containing synapses. SAP97β enhances the number of AMPAR-containing synapses in an NMDAR-dependent manner, whereas its effect on the size of unitary synaptic response is not fully dependent on NMDAR activity. These effects contrast with those of PSD-95α, which increases both the number of AMPAR-containing synapses and the size of unitary synaptic responses, with or without NMDAR activity. Our results suggest that SAP97β regulates synaptic AMPAR content by increasing surface expression of GluA1-containing AMPARs, whereas PSD-95α enhances synaptic AMPAR content presumably by increasing the synaptic scaffold capacity for synaptic AMPARs. Our approach delineates discrete effects of different PSD-MAGUKs on principal properties of glutamatergic synaptic transmission. Our results suggest that the molecular diversity of PSD-MAGUKs can provide rich molecular substrates for differential regulation of glutamatergic synapses in the brain.
Keywords: DLG-MAGUK; PSD-MAGUK; excitatory synapse; hippocampus; mEPSC.