Transient decrease in F-actin may be necessary for translocation of proteins into dendritic spines

Yannan Ouyang*, Michael Wong, Francisco Capani, Nick Rensing, Chul Sang Lee, Qun Liu, Clemens Neusch, Maryann E. Martone, Jane Y. Wu, Kelvin Yamada, Mark H. Ellisman, Dennis W. Choi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


It remains poorly understood as to how newly synthesized proteins that are required to act at specific synapses are translocated into only selected subsets of potentiated dendritic spines. Here, we report that F-actin, a major component of the skeletal structure of dendritic spines, may contribute to the regulation of synaptic specificity of protein translocation. We found that the stabilization of F-actin blocked the translocation of GFP-CaMKII and inhibited the diffusion of 3-kDa dextran into spines (in 2-3 weeks cultures). Neuronal activation in hippocampal slices and cultured neurons led to an increase in the activation (decrease in the phosphorylation) of the actin depolymerization factor, cofilin, and a decrease in F-actin. Furthermore, the induction of long-term potentiation by tetanic stimulation induced local transient depolymerization of F-actin both in vivo and in hippocampal slices (8-10 weeks), and this local F-actin depolymerization was blocked by APV, a N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. These results suggest that F-actin may play a role in synaptic specificity by allowing protein translocation into only potentiated spines, gated through its depolymerization, which is probably triggered by the activation of NMDA receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2995-3005
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Dendritic spine
  • F-actin
  • Information storage
  • LTP
  • Protein translocation
  • Synaptic specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Transient decrease in F-actin may be necessary for translocation of proteins into dendritic spines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this