Molecular insight into synapse elimination
Synapses are the main neurological structures responsible for the formation of neural circuits and the transmission of information between neurons. Under physiological conditions, the formation and elimination of synapses supports neuronal plasticity. The EU-funded SUMO-PCDH10 project aims to dissect the mechanism of synapse elimination and identify the key determinants. Researchers will focus on protocadherin-10 (PCDH10), an autism-related cell adhesion transmembrane protein known to regulate synapse density and function. They will investigate how a specific post-translational modification known as sumoylation is responsible for PCDH10 function. Given that several neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with synapse elimination, results will have profound clinical consequences.