Trans-synaptic cell adhesion molecules neuroligins and neurexins play an important role in promoting central synapse formation. We report here a molecular reconstruction of functional GABAergic synapses in non-neuronal cells with the coexpression of postsynaptic cell adhesion molecule neuroligin-2 (NL-2) and GABAA receptors. HEK 293T cells were co-transfected with GABAA receptors and NL-2 or its homologue neuroligin-1 (NL-1), and then cocultured with hypothalamic cultures which are enriched with GABAergic neurons. Both spontaneous and action potential-evoked GABAergic events were readily detected in HEK 293T cells coexpressing GABAA receptors with NL-2, but not with NL-1. Aggregating NL-2 with specific antibodies in live cells resulted in coaggregation of GABAA receptors. Expression of NL-2 in HEK 293T cells also induced stronger GABAergic presynaptic differentiation than that of NL-1 in neuronal cocultures. These results suggest that NL-2 may potentially serve as a central organizer for GABAergic synapse assembly by interacting with both presynaptic neurexins and postsynaptic GABAA receptors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology