Activity of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) is required for long-term depression (LTD) via molecular mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here, we report that PSD-95, a major scaffold protein of the postsynaptic density (PSD) that promotes synaptic strength, is phosphorylated on threonine-19 (T19) by GSK-3β. In cultured rat hippocampal neurons, phosphorylation of T19 increases rapidly with chemical LTD and is attenuated by pharmacologic or genetic suppression of GSK-3β. In organotypic rat hippocampal slices, we find that a nonphosphorylatable PSD-95 mutant (T19A) tagged with photoactivatable green fluorescent protein (PAGFP) shows enhanced stability in dendritic spines versus wild-type PSD-95, whereas the phosphomimetic mutant (PSD-95-T19D) is more readily dispersed. Further, overexpression of PSD-95-T19A, but not WT-PSD-95, impairs AMPA receptor internalization and the induction of LTD. These data indicate that phosphorylation on T19 by GSK-3β destabilizes PSD-95 within the PSD and is a critical step for AMPA receptor mobilization and LTD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas