Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Interaction of Cupidin/Homer2 with two actin cytoskeletal regulators, Cdc42 small GTPase and Drebrin, in dendritic spines

Yoko Shiraishi-Yamaguchi12, Yumi Sato1, Rieko Sakai3, Akihiro Mizutani4, Thomas Knöpfel3, Nozomu Mori2, Katsuhiko Mikoshiba4 and Teiichi Furuichi15*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory for Molecular Neurogenesis, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

2 Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Nagasaki, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan

3 Laboratory for Neuronal Circuit Dynamics, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

4 Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

5 JST, CREST, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-25

Published: 24 March 2009



Homer is a postsynaptic scaffold protein that links various synaptic signaling proteins, including the type I metabotropic glutamate receptor subunits 1α and 5, the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor, Shank and Cdc42 small GTPase. Overexpression of Homer induces changes in dendritic spine morphology in cultured hippocampal neurons. However, the molecular basis underpinning Homer-mediated spine morphogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the structural and functional properties of the interaction between Cupidin/Homer2 and two actin-cytoskeletal regulators, Cdc42 small GTPase and Drebrin.


Cupidin/Homer2 interacted with activated Cdc42 small GTPase via the Cdc42-binding domain that resides around amino acid residues 191–283, within the C-terminal coiled-coil domain. We generated a Cupidin deletion mutant lacking amino acids 191–230 (CPDΔ191–230), which showed decrease Cdc42-binding ability but maintained self-multimerization ability. Cupidin suppressed Cdc42-induced filopodia-like protrusion formation in HeLa cells, whereas CPDΔ191–230 failed to do so. In cultured hippocampal neurons, Cupidin was targeted to dendritic spines, whereas CPDΔ191–230 was distributed in dendritic shafts as well as spines. Overexpression of CPDΔ191–230 decreased the number of synapses and reduced the amplitudes of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents in hippocampal neurons. Cupidin interacted with a dendritic spine F-actin-binding protein, Drebrin, which possesses two Homer ligand motifs, via the N-terminal EVH-1 domain. CPDΔ191–230 overexpression decreased Drebrin clustering in the dendritic spines of hippocampal neurons.


These results indicate that Cupidin/Homer2 interacts with the dendritic spine actin regulators Cdc42 and Drebrin via its C-terminal and N-terminal domains, respectively, and that it may be involved in spine morphology and synaptic properties.