A plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase isoform at the postsynaptic density

A. C. Burette, E. E. Strehler, R. J. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Most excitatory input in the hippocampus impinges on dendritic spines. Entry of Ca2+ into spines through NMDA receptors can trigger a sequence of biochemical reactions leading to sustained changes in synaptic efficacy. To provide specificity, dendritic spines restrict the diffusion of Ca2+ signaling and downstream molecules. The postsynaptic density (PSD) (the most prominent subdomain within the spine) is the site of Ca2+ entry through NMDA receptors. We here demonstrate that Ca2+ can also be removed via pumps embedded in the PSD. Using light- and electron-microscopic immunohistochemistry, we find that PMCA2w, a member of the plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) family, concentrates at the PSD of most hippocampal spines. We propose that PMCA2w may be recruited into supramolecular complexes at the postsynaptic density, thus helping to regulate Ca2+ nanodomains at subsynaptic sites. Taken together, these results suggest a novel function for PMCAs as modulators of Ca2+ signaling at the synapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-993
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Calcium extrusion
  • Calcium pump
  • Dendritic spine
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Postsynaptic density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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