Glycine receptors (GlyRs) mediate inhibitory neurotransmission in spinal cord and brainstem. They are clustered at inhibitory postsynapses via a tight interaction of their β subunits (GlyRβ) with the scaffolding protein gephyrin. In an attempt to isolate additional proteins interacting with GlyRβ, we performed pulldown experiments with rat brain extracts using a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein encompassing amino acids 378-455 of the large intracellular loop of GlyRβ as bait. This identified syndapin I (SdpI) as a novel interaction partner of GlyRβ that coimmunoprecipitates with native GlyRs from brainstem extracts. Both SdpI and SdpII bound efficiently to the intracellular loop of GlyRβ in vitro and colocalized with GlyRβ upon coexpression in COS-7 cells. The SdpI-binding site was mapped to a proline-rich sequence of 22 amino acids within the intracellular loop of GlyRβ. Deletion and point mutation analysis disclosed that SdpI binding to GlyRβ is Src homology 3 domain-dependent. In cultured rat spinal cord neurons, SdpI immunoreactivity was found to partially colocalize with marker proteins of inhibitory and excitatory synapses. When SdpI was acutely knocked down in cultured spinal cord neurons by viral miRNA expression, postsynaptic GlyR clusters were significantly reduced in both size and number. Similar changes in GlyR cluster properties were found in spinal cultures from SdpI-deficient mice. Our results are consistent with a role of SdpI in the trafficking and/or cytoskeletal anchoring of synaptic GlyRs.
Keywords: Cys Loop Receptors; Glycine Receptors; Inhibitory Synapse; Knockdown; Mass Spectrometry (MS); Membrane Protein Trafficking; Molecular Modeling; Protein-Protein Interactions; Spinal Cord; Syndapin.