Regulation of dendrite morphology and excitatory synapse formation by zDHHC15

J Cell Sci. 2019 Jul 5;132(13):jcs230052. doi: 10.1242/jcs.230052.


Protein palmitoylation is the most common post-translational lipid modification in the brain and is mediated by a family of 24 zDHHC enzymes. There has been growing interest in zDHHCs due to mounting evidence that these enzymes play key roles in the development and function of neuronal connections, and the fact that a number of zDHHCs have been associated with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Loss-of-function variants in several zDHHCs, including zDHHC15, have been identified in patients with intellectual disabilities; however, the function of zDHHC15 in the brain has not been well studied. Here, we demonstrate that knocking down zDHHC15 in primary rat hippocampal cultures reduces dendritic outgrowth and arborization, as well as spine maturation. Moreover, knockdown of zDHHC15 reduces palmitoylation of PSD-95 and its trafficking into dendrites, resulting in an overall decrease in the density of excitatory synapses being formed onto mutant cells.

Keywords: DLG4; Dendrite morphology; Excitatory synapses; PSD-95; Palmitoyl transferases; Palmitoylation; zDHHC15.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Acyltransferases / physiology*
  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein
  • Acyltransferases
  • Zdhhc15 protein, rat