The DLGAP family: neuronal expression, function and role in brain disorders

Mol Brain. 2017 Sep 4;10(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s13041-017-0324-9.


The neurotransmitter glutamate facilitates neuronal signalling at excitatory synapses. Glutamate is released from the presynaptic membrane into the synaptic cleft. Across the synaptic cleft glutamate binds to both ion channels and metabotropic glutamate receptors at the postsynapse, which expedite downstream signalling in the neuron. The postsynaptic density, a highly specialized matrix, which is attached to the postsynaptic membrane, controls this downstream signalling. The postsynaptic density also resets the synapse after each synaptic firing. It is composed of numerous proteins including a family of Discs large associated protein 1, 2, 3 and 4 (DLGAP1-4) that act as scaffold proteins in the postsynaptic density. They link the glutamate receptors in the postsynaptic membrane to other glutamate receptors, to signalling proteins and to components of the cytoskeleton. With the central localisation in the postsynapse, the DLGAP family seems to play a vital role in synaptic scaling by regulating the turnover of both ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors in response to synaptic activity. DLGAP family has been directly linked to a variety of psychological and neurological disorders. In this review we focus on the direct and indirect role of DLGAP family on schizophrenia as well as other brain diseases.

Keywords: DLGAP1; DLGAP2; DLGAP3; DLGAP4; GKAP; PSD; SAPAP; Scaffold proteins; Schizophrenia; Synaptic scaling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • SAP90-PSD95 Associated Proteins / chemistry
  • SAP90-PSD95 Associated Proteins / metabolism*


  • SAP90-PSD95 Associated Proteins