Stability of dendritic spines and synaptic contacts is controlled by αN-catenin

Kentaro Abe, Osamu Chisaka, Frans Van Roy, Masatoshi Takeichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)


Morphological plasticity of dendritic spines and synapses is thought to be crucial for their physiological functions. Here we show that αN-catenin, a linker between cadherin adhesion receptors and the actin cytoskeleton, is essential for stabilizing dendritic spines in rodent hippocampal neurons in culture. In the absence of αN-catenin, spine heads were abnormally motile, actively protruding filopodia from their synaptic contact sites. Conversely, αN-catenin overexpression in dendrites reduced spine turnover, causing an increase in spine and synapse density. Tetrodotoxin (TTX), a neural activity blocker, suppressed the synaptic accumulation of αN-catenin, whereas bicuculline, a GABA antagonist, promoted it. Furthermore, excess αN-catenin rendered spines resistant to the TTX treatment. These results suggest that αN-catenin is a key regulator for the stability of synaptic contacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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