Important roles of Vilse in dendritic architecture and synaptic plasticity

Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 3;7:45646. doi: 10.1038/srep45646.


Vilse/Arhgap39 is a Rho GTPase activating protein (RhoGAP) and utilizes its WW domain to regulate Rac/Cdc42-dependent morphogenesis in Drosophila and murine hippocampal neurons. However, the function of Vilse in mammalian dendrite architecture and synaptic plasticity remained unclear. In the present study, we aimed to explore the possible role of Vilse in dendritic structure and synaptic function in the brain. Homozygous knockout of Vilse resulted in premature embryonic lethality in mice. Changes in dendritic complexity and spine density were noticed in hippocampal neurons of Camk2a-Cre mediated forebrain-specific Vilse knockout (VilseΔ/Δ) mice. VilseΔ/Δ mice displayed impaired spatial memory in water maze and Y-maze tests. Electrical stimulation in hippocampal CA1 region revealed that the synaptic transmission and plasticity were defected in VilseΔ/Δ mice. Collectively, our results demonstrate that Vilse is essential for embryonic development and required for spatial memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Female
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genes, Lethal / genetics
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Spatial Memory / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Arhgap39 protein, mouse
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • rho GTPase-activating protein