Mobility of adhesion molecules within synapses

Localization and dynamics of the adhesion molecule α-Neurexin in axons of cultured hippocampal neurons
left: Transmitted light image of cultured hippocampal neurons expressing the adhesion molecule α-Neurexin coupled to GFP (green) within the axon. Synaptic spots are labelled in red.
center: Trajectories of individual α-Neurexin molecules (colored) recorded via Quantum Dots in a sptPALM experiment along the axon and within synaptic spots (white dots).
right: Exemplary video of moving single α-Neurexin objects.


Adhesion molecules are important for guidance of neuronal contact formation and are involved in the establishment and maintenance of synaptic contacts. The turnover and reassociation of adhesive contacts, particularly in synapses, is essential for information transfer within neuronal networks.

To understand the assembly and disassembly of adhesive contacts within functional synapses, we study the underlying molecular mechanisms of adhesive contacts with a main interest in neurexins. Mutations of neurexins have been identified to be involved in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders as autism or schizophrenia.
In collaboration with Prof. Markus Missler (University Munster/Westphalia), we focus on the trafficking and local organization of neurexins in GABAergic and glutamatergic synapses and their interplay with interaction partners (Born et al. 2014, Neupert et al. 2015, Brockhaus et al. 2018).


Related publications:

Brockhaus J, Schreitmüller M, Repetto D, Klatt O, Reissner C, Elmslie K, Heine M, Missler M. (2018)
α-Neurexins Together with α2δ-1 Auxiliary Subunits Regulate Ca2+ Influx through Cav2.1 Channels. J Neurosci. 38: 8277-8294.

Voigt A, Freund R, Heck J, Missler M, Obermair GJ, Thomas U, Heine M (2016)
Dynamic association of calcium channel subunits at the cellular membrane. Neurophotonics 3: 041809.

Neupert C, Schneider R, Klatt O, Reissner C, Repetto D, Biermann B, Niesmann K, Missler M, Heine M (2015)
Regulated Dynamic Trafficking of Neurexins Inside and Outside of Synaptic Terminals. J Neurosci 35: 13629-13647.

Born G, Breuer D, Wang S, Rohlmann A, Coulon P, Vakili P, Reissner C, Kiefer F, Heine M, Pape H-C, Missler M (2014)
Modulation of synaptic Function through the α-Neurexin-specific ligand Neurexophilin-1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111(13): E1274-1283.

Biermann B, Sokoll S, Klueva J, Missler M, Wiegert JS, Sibarita JB, Heine M. (2014)
Imaging of molecular surface dynamics in brain slices using single-particle tracking. Nat Commun 5: 3024.

Mondin M, Labrousse V, Hosy E, Heine M, Tessier B, Levet F, Poujol C, Blanchet C, Choquet D, Thoumine O (2011)
Neurexin-Neuroligin Adhesions Capture Surface-Diffusing AMPA Receptors through PSD-95 Scaffolds. J Neurosci 31(38): 13500-13515.

Heine M, Thoumine O, Giannone G, Tessier B, Choquet D. (2008)
Activity-independent and subunit-specific recruitment of functional AMPA receptors at neurexin/neuroligin contacts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105: 20947-52.