Date of this Version
J Neurosci. 2010 March 10; 30(10): 3728–3738.
The c-Abl tyrosine kinase is present in mouse brain synapses, but its precise synaptic function is unknown. We found that c-Abl levels in the rat hippocampus increase postnatally, with expression peaking at the first postnatal week. In 14 d in vitro hippocampal neuron cultures, c-Abl localizes primarily to the postsynaptic compartment, in which it colocalizes with the postsynaptic scaffold protein postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) in apposition to presynaptic markers. c-Abl associates with PSD-95, and chemical or genetic inhibition of c-Abl kinase activity reduces PSD-95 tyrosine phosphorylation, leading to reduced PSD-95 clustering and reduced synapses in treated neurons. c-Abl can phosphorylate PSD-95 on tyrosine 533, and mutation of this residue reduces the ability of PSD-95 to cluster at postsynaptic sites. Our results indicate that c-Abl regulates synapse formation by mediating tyrosine phosphorylation and clustering of PSD-95.