Congratulations to Mark!!! His paper was accepted at eNeuro! He's been working hard on this ever since he started in the lab a few years ago. When we first started we really had no idea where this was going to go, and we couldn't be happier with where Mark has taken it!
Csmd2 is a Synaptic Transmembrane Protein that Interacts with PSD-95 and is Required for Neuronal Maturation
Mutations and copy number variants of the CUB and Sushi multiple domains 2 (CSMD2) gene are associated with neuropsychiatric disease. CSMD2 encodes a single-pass transmembrane protein with a large extracellular domain comprising repeats of CUB and Sushi domains. High expression of CSMD2 in the developing and mature brain suggests possible roles in neuron development or function, but the cellular functions of CSMD2 are not known. In this study, we show that mouse Csmd2 is expressed in excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the forebrain. Csmd2 protein exhibits a somatodendritic localization in the neocortex and hippocampus, with smaller puncta localizing to the neuropil. Using immunohistochemical and biochemical methods, we demonstrate that Csmd2 localizes to dendritic spines and is enriched in the postsynaptic density (PSD). Accordingly, we show that the cytoplasmic tail domain of Csmd2 interacts with synaptic scaffolding proteins of the membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK) family. The association between Csmd2 and MAGUK member PSD-95 is dependent on a PDZ-binding domain on the Csmd2 tail, which is also required for synaptic targeting of Csmd2. Finally, we show that knock-down of Csmd2 expression in hippocampal neuron cultures results in reduced complexity of dendritic arbors and deficits in dendritic spine density. Knock-down of Csmd2 in immature developing neurons results in reduced filopodia density, whereas Csmd2 knock-down in mature neurons causes significant reductions in dendritic spine density and dendrite complexity. Together, these results point toward a function for Csmd2 in development and maintenance of dendrites and synapses, which may account for its association with certain psychiatric disorders.