Organization of the core structure of the postsynaptic density

Xiaobing Chen, Christine Winters, Rita Azzam, Xiang Li, James A. Galbraith, Richard D. Leapman, Thomas S. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Much is known about the composition and function of the postsynaptic density (PSD), but less is known about its molecular organization. We use EM tomography to delineate the organization of PSDs at glutamatergic synapses in rat hippocampal cultures. The core of the PSD is dominated by vertically oriented filaments, and ImmunoGold labeling shows that PSD-95 is a component of these filaments. Vertical filaments contact two types of transmembrane structures whose sizes and positions match those of glutamate receptors and intermesh with two types of horizontally oriented filaments lying 10-20 nm from the postsynaptic membrane. The longer horizontal filaments link adjacent NMDAR-type structures, whereas the smaller filaments link both NMDA- and AMPAR-type structures. The orthogonal, interlinked scaffold of filaments at the core of the PSD provides a structural basis for understanding dynamic aspects of postsynaptic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4453-4458
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 18 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • EM tomography
  • High-pressure freezing
  • Hippocampal neuron
  • PSD-95

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Organization of the core structure of the postsynaptic density'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this