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    Dynamic control of protein degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is thought to play a crucial role in neuronal function and synaptic plasticity. The proteasome subunit Rpt6, an AAA ATPase subunit of the 19S regulatory particle (RP), has emerged as an important site for regulation of 26S proteasome function in neurons. Phosphorylation of Rpt6 on serine 120 (S120) can stimulate the catalytic rate of substrate degradation by the 26S proteasome and this site is targeted by the plasticity-related kinase Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), making it an attractive candidate for regulation of proteasome function in neurons. Several in vitro studies have shown that altered Rpt6 S120 phosphorylation can affect the structure and function of synapses. To evaluate the importance of Rpt6 S120 phosphorylation in vivo, we created two mouse models which feature mutations at S120 that block or mimic phosphorylation at this site. We find that peptidase and ATPase activities are upregulated in the phospho-mimetic mutant and downregulated in the phospho-dead mutant [S120 mutated to aspartic acid (S120D) or alanine (S120A), respectively]. Surprisingly, these mutations had no effect on basal synaptic transmission, long-term potentiation (LTP), and dendritic spine dynamics and density in the hippocampus. Furthermore, these mutants displayed no deficits in cued and contextual fear memory. Thus, in a mouse model that blocks or mimics phosphorylation at this site, either compensatory mechanisms negate these effects, or small variations in proteasome activity are not enough to induce significant changes in synaptic structure, plasticity, or behavior. Copyright © 2021 Scudder et al.


    Samantha L Scudder, Frankie R Gonzales, Kristin K Howell, Ivar S Stein, Lara E Dozier, Stephan G Anagnostaras, Karen Zito, Gentry N Patrick. Altered Phosphorylation of the Proteasome Subunit Rpt6 Has Minimal Impact on Synaptic Plasticity and Learning. eNeuro. 2021 May-Jun;8(3)

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    PMID: 33658307

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