Phosphorylation state modulates the interaction between spinophilin and neurofilament medium

Andrew C Hiday, Purdue University


A histological marker of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the loss of synapses located on striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) as a result of dopaminergic nigral cell depletion. The dendritic spines that give MSNs their name have a well-characterized structure and are the main regions of post-synaptic input. It has been shown that spines have altered functionality and morphology in many neurodegenerative diseases. Spine morphology, and potentially function, is dictated by an array of structural proteins and their associations with other proteins in a region dubbed the post-synaptic density (PSD). Spinophilin and neurofilament medium (NF-M) are two proteins that are enriched in the PSD and have potential implications in PD. Interestingly, preliminary data show that there is a decrease in the NF-M-spinophilin interaction in animal models of PD. Here it is shown that these two proteins interact in brain tissue and when overexpressed in a mammalian cell system. Moreover, we have begun to determine mechanisms that regulate this interaction. It is known that there is a misregulation of protein phosphatases and kinases in many neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, the phosphorylation state of a protein can regulate its association with other proteins. Therefore, we hypothesize that the phosphorylation state of either protein affects the interaction between spinophilin and NF-M. Furthermore, we have conducted experiments utilizing protein phosphatases and kinases that are known to modulate the phosphorylation state of NF-M and/or spinophilin. Data show that both kinase and phosphatase activity and/or expression modulates the NF-M-spinophilin interaction in heterologous cell lines. Through the use of MS/MS analysis, we have begun to map specific phosphorylation sites that may play a role in regulating this interaction. Currently, we are elucidating the specific effects of these post-translational modifications on regulating the spinophilin-NF-M interaction. These data will enhance our knowledge of spinophilin's interactions and how these interactions are altered in neurological disorders such as PD.




Baucum, Purdue University.

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