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Ankyrin-G regulates forebrain connectivity and network synchronization via interaction with GABARAP

  • Nelson, A. D.1
  • Caballero-Florán, R. N.1
  • Rodríguez Díaz, J. C.2
  • Hull, J. M.1, 2
  • Yuan, Y.1
  • Li, J.3
  • Chen, K.3
  • Walder, K. K.4
  • Lopez-Santiago, L. F.1
  • Bennett, V.4, 4
  • McInnis, M. G.2
  • Isom, L. L.1, 2, 2, 2
  • Wang, C.3, 5
  • Zhang, M.3
  • Jones, K. S.1, 2
  • Jenkins, P. M.1, 2
  • 1 University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA , Ann Arbor (United States)
  • 2 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA , Ann Arbor (United States)
  • 3 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China , Hong Kong (China)
  • 4 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 27710, USA , Durham (United States)
  • 5 University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China , Hefei (China)
Published Article
Molecular Psychiatry
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
Nov 30, 2018
DOI: 10.1038/s41380-018-0308-x
Springer Nature


GABAergic circuits are critical for the synchronization and higher order function of brain networks. Defects in this circuitry are linked to neuropsychiatric diseases, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. Work in cultured neurons has shown that ankyrin-G plays a key role in the regulation of GABAergic synapses on the axon initial segment and somatodendritic domain of pyramidal neurons, where it interacts directly with the GABAA receptor-associated protein (GABARAP) to stabilize cell surface GABAA receptors. Here, we generated a knock-in mouse model expressing a mutation that abolishes the ankyrin-G/GABARAP interaction (Ank3 W1989R) to understand how ankyrin-G and GABARAP regulate GABAergic circuitry in vivo. We found that Ank3 W1989R mice exhibit a striking reduction in forebrain GABAergic synapses resulting in pyramidal cell hyperexcitability and disruptions in network synchronization. In addition, we identified changes in pyramidal cell dendritic spines and axon initial segments consistent with compensation for hyperexcitability. Finally, we identified the ANK3 W1989R variant in a family with bipolar disorder, suggesting a potential role of this variant in disease. Our results highlight the importance of ankyrin-G in regulating forebrain circuitry and provide novel insights into how ANK3 loss-of-function variants may contribute to human disease.

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