Synaptic structure and function are altered by the neddylation inhibitor MLN4924

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2015 Mar:65:52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2015.02.010. Epub 2015 Feb 19.


The posttranslational modification of proteins by the ubiquitin-like small molecule NEDD8 has previously been shown to be vital in a number of cell signaling pathways. In particular, conjugation of NEDD8 (neddylation) serves to regulate protein ubiquitination through modifications to E3 ubiquitin ligases. Despite the prevalence of NEDD8 in neurons, very little work has been done to characterize the role of this modifier in these cells. Here, we use the recently developed NEDD8 Activating Enzyme (NAE) inhibitor MLN4924 and report evidence of a role for NEDD8 in regulating mammalian excitatory synapses. Application of this drug to dissociated rat hippocampal neurons caused reductions in synaptic strength, surface glutamate receptor levels, dendritic spine width, and spine density, suggesting that neddylation is involved in the maintenance of synapses.

Keywords: Hippocampus; MLN4924; NEDD8; Synapse; Ubiquitin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Glutamate / genetics
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Potentials
  • Ubiquitin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination*


  • Cyclopentanes
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Ubiquitin
  • pevonedistat