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Supramolecular organization of NMDA receptors and the postsynaptic density

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Early online date31 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


The postsynaptic density (PSD) of all vertebrate species share a highly complex proteome with ∼1000 conserved proteins that function as sophisticated molecular computational devices. Here, we review recent studies showing that this complexity can be understood in terms of the supramolecular organization of proteins, which self-assemble within a hierarchy of different length scales, including complexes, supercomplexes and nanodomains. We highlight how genetic and biochemical approaches in mice are being used to uncover the native molecular architecture of the synapse, revealing hitherto unknown molecular structures, including highly selective mechanisms for specifying the assembly of NMDAR-MAGUK supercomplexes. We propose there exists a logical framework that precisely dictates the subunit composition of synaptic complexes, supercomplexes, and nanodomains in vivo.

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