GABAA-receptor-based interneuron circuitry is essential for higher order function of the human nervous system and is implicated in schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and autism. Here we demonstrate that giant ankyrin-G (480-kDa ankyrin-G) promotes stability of somatodendritic GABAergic synapses in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, giant ankyrin-G forms developmentally regulated and cell-type-specific micron-scale domains within extrasynaptic somatodendritic plasma membranes of pyramidal neurons. We further find that giant ankyrin-G promotes GABAergic synapse stability through opposing endocytosis of GABAA receptors, and requires a newly described interaction with GABARAP, a GABAA receptor-associated protein. We thus present a new mechanism for stabilization of GABAergic interneuron synapses and micron-scale organization of extrasynaptic membrane that provides a rationale for studies linking ankyrin-G genetic variation with psychiatric disease and abnormal neurodevelopment.
Keywords: GABAA receptor endocytosis; GABARAP; GABAergic synapses; extrasynaptic membrane; giant ankyrin-G.