SynGAP splice isoforms differentially regulate synaptic plasticity and dendritic development

Yoichi Araki, Ingie Hong, Timothy R. Gamache, Shaowen Ju, Leonardo Collado-Torres, Joo Heon Shin, Richard L. Huganir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SynGAP is a synaptic Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) with four C-terminal splice variants: α1, α2, β, and γ. Although recent studies have implicated SYNGAP1 haploinsufficiency in ID/ASD pathogenesis, the degree to which each SynGAP isoform contributes to disease pathogenesis remains elusive. Here we demonstrate that individual SynGAP isoforms exhibit unique spatiotemporal expression and have distinct roles in neuronal and synaptic development. The SynGAP-α1 isoform, which undergoes robust liquid-liquid phase-separation with PSD-95 and is highly-enriched in synapses, is expressed late in development and disperses from synaptic spines in response to LTP-inducing synaptic activity to allow for AMPA receptor insertion and spine enlargement. In contrast, the SynGAP-β isoform, which undergoes less liquid-liquid phase-separation with PSD95 and is less synaptically targeted, is expressed early in development and promotes dendritic arborization. Interestingly, a SynGAP-α1 mutation that disrupts phase separation and synaptic targeting abolishes its function in plasticity and instead drives dendritic arbor development like the β isoform. These results demonstrate that distinct phase separation and synaptic targeting properties of SynGAP isoforms determine their function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 28 2020


  • Dendritic development
  • Liquid-liquid phase separation
  • Synaptic GTPase activating protein
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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