Gephyrin clustering is required for the stability of GABAergic synapses

Wendou Yu, Min Jiang, Celia P. Miralles, Rong wen Li, Gong Chen, Angel L. de Blas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Although gephyrin is an important postsynaptic scaffolding protein at GABAergic synapses, the role of gephyrin for GABAergic synapse formation and/or maintenance is still under debate. We report here that knocking down gephyrin expression with small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) in cultured hippocampal pyramidal cells decreased both the number of gephyrin and GABA(A) receptor clusters. Similar results were obtained by disrupting the clustering of endogenous gephyrin by overexpressing a gephyrin-EGFP fusion protein that formed aggregates with the endogenous gephyrin. Disrupting postsynaptic gephyrin clusters also had transsynaptic effects leading to a significant reduction of GABAergic presynaptic boutons contacting the transfected pyramidal cells. Consistent with the morphological decrease of GABAergic synapses, electrophysiological analysis revealed a significant reduction in both the amplitude and frequency of the spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs). However, no change in the whole-cell GABA currents was detected, suggesting a selective effect of gephyrin on GABA(A) receptor clustering at postsynaptic sites. It is concluded that gephyrin plays a critical role for the stability of GABAergic synapses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-500
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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