Altering AMPA receptor (AMPAR) content at synapses is a key mechanism underlying the regulation of synaptic strength during learning and memory. Previous work demonstrated that SynDIG1 (synapse differentiation-induced gene 1) encodes a transmembrane AMPAR-associated protein that regulates excitatory synapse strength and number. Here we show that the related protein SynDIG4 (also known as Prrt1) modifies AMPAR gating properties in a subunit-dependent manner. Young SynDIG4 knockout (KO) mice have weaker excitatory synapses, as evaluated by immunocytochemistry and electrophysiology. Adult SynDIG4 KO mice show complete loss of tetanus-induced long-term potentiation (LTP), while mEPSC amplitude is reduced by only 25%. Furthermore, SynDIG4 KO mice exhibit deficits in two independent cognitive assays. Given that SynDIG4 colocalizes with the AMPAR subunit GluA1 at non-synaptic sites, we propose that SynDIG4 maintains a pool of extrasynaptic AMPARs necessary for synapse development and function underlying higher-order cognitive plasticity
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