Tetraspanins are a class of evolutionarily conserved transmembrane proteins with 33 members identified in mammals that have the ability to organize specific membrane domains, named tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs). Despite the relative abundance of different tetraspanins in the CNS, few studies have explored their role at synapses. Here, we investigate the function of TSPAN5, a member of the tetraspanin superfamily for which mRNA transcripts are found at high levels in the mouse brain. We demonstrate that TSPAN5 is localized in dendritic spines of pyramidal excitatory neurons and that TSPAN5 knockdown induces a dramatic decrease in spine number because of defects in the spine maturation process. Moreover, we show that TSPAN5 interacts with the postsynaptic adhesion molecule neuroligin-1, promoting its correct surface clustering. We propose that membrane compartmentalization by tetraspanins represents an additional mechanism for regulating excitatory synapses.
- dendritic spines
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)