POSH regulates assembly of the NMDAR/PSD-95/Shank complex and synaptic function
Minghui Yao, Meizhen Meng, Xiyu Yang, Shuo Wang, Hongsheng Zhang, Feng Zhang, Lei Shi, Yongqing Zhang, Xiaohui Zhang, Zhiheng Xu
Mutation or disruption of the Shank/ProSAP family of genes is a high risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and intellectual disability. N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor (NMDAR) dysfunction contributes to the development of autism-like behaviors. However, the molecular mechanism of Shank-mediated NMDAR modulation is still not clear. Here, we show that the scaffold protein plenty of SH3s (POSH) directly interacts with two other scaffold proteins, PSD95 and SHANK2/3, at excitatory synapses. In POSH conditional knockout (cKO) mice, normal synaptic clustering of NMDAR/PSD-95/SHANK complex is disrupted, accompanied by abnormal dendritic spine development and glutamatergic transmission in hippocampal neurons. POSH cKO mice display profound autism-like behaviors, including impairments in social interactions, social communication, repetitive behaviors, and deficits in learning and memory. Thus, POSH clusters at the postsynaptic density (PSD) with PSD-95 and SHANK2/3 and plays important roles in the signaling mechanisms of the NMDAR/PSD-95/POSH/SHANK complex as well as in spine development and brain function.