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Theses

The role of synaptopodin for the diffusion of membrane protein in the dendritic spine neck

Abstract : Lateral diffusion in and outside synapses plays a key role in the accumulation of receptors at synapses, which critically determines the efficacy of synaptic neurotransmission. Therefore, to better understand the trapping of neurotransmitter receptors in synapses, it is important to investigate the mechanisms that may affect receptors diffusion and their capacity to reach synapses. The neck of dendritic spine imposes a diffusional barrier that is considered to depend on the length and diameter of the spine neck. The origin of this barrier could be purely geometrical or could be induced by the presence of specific barriers/obstacles for diffusion. A subpopulation of spines contains a specialized form of endoplasmic reticulum in the spine neck called spine apparatus. The actin-binding protein synaptopodin (SP) is tightly associated with the spine apparatus and participates in synaptic plasticity mechanisms. The central question of my research was to assess whether the presence of the SP affects the diffusion of receptors in the spine neck and to characterize the underlying molecular mechanisms. To study membrane diffusion, I have developed three different probes: a construct associated with the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane (GFP-GPI), a construct with one transmembrane domain and a short intracellular sequence (TMD-pHluorin), and a recombinant metabotropic mGluR5 receptor construct containing an extracellular domain tagged with pHluorin, seven transmembrane domains, as well as a large intracellular region. The diffusion properties of these molecules were measured by single particle tracking using quantum dots. My experiments revealed that the diffusion of membrane proteins was slower in the spine neck than in the dendrite as a result of the different diameter of the two compartments. Furthermore, the diffusion properties depended on the molecular size and complexity of the membrane proteins. Interestingly, the diffusion of membrane proteins with transmembrane domains was particular slow in spine necks containing SP. This could be the result of direct molecular interactions between the membrane proteins and SP or due to spatial constraints that are related to the structural organization of spine necks expressing SP. To address these questions further I used pharmacological treatments to change the internal organization of the spine neck, and measured their effect on the diffusion properties of mGluR5. The distribution of SP and F-actin in the spine neck was determined on the nanoscopic scale using PALM/STORM imaging. This showed that under control condition SP occupies only the central region of the spine neck. Activity-dependent depolymerization of F-actin by 4-Aminopyridine led to a simultaneous decrease of the amount of F-actin and SP and enhanced the diffusion of mGluR5 in all analyzed neck regions. Disruption of F-actin by latrunculin A induced the re-distribution of SP and the formation of larger SP clusters, occupying an increased region within the spine neck. The recruitment of SP was accompanied by an acceleration of mGluR5 diffusion in SP-positive spines, demonstrating that the mobility of mGluR5 is not controlled by direct interactions with SP. Instead, the diffusion of mGluR5 is dependent on the organization of the spine cytoskeleton. In conclusion, I propose that SP and the polymerization of actin filaments have a reciprocal effect on the stability of each other in the spine neck of cultured hippocampal neurons. Spine necks bearing SP have a unique F-actin cytoskeletal organization that acts as an additional diffusion barrier for neurotransmitter receptors such as mGluR5.
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Lili Wang. The role of synaptopodin for the diffusion of membrane protein in the dendritic spine neck. Other [q-bio.OT]. Ecole normale supérieure - ENS PARIS, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENSU0021⟩. ⟨tel-01771759⟩

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