Sorting nexin 27 rescues neuroligin 2 from lysosomal degradation to control inhibitory synapse number

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Retromer is an evolutionarily conserved endosomal trafficking complex that mediates the retrieval of cargo proteins from a degradative pathway for sorting back to the cell surface. To promote cargo recycling, the core retromer trimer of VPS (vacuolar protein sorting)26, VPS29 and VPS35 recognises cargo either directly, or through an adaptor protein, the most well characterised of which is the PDZ [postsynaptic density 95 (PSD95), disk large, zona occludens] domain-containing sorting nexin SNX27. Neuroligins (NLGs) are postsynaptic trans-synaptic scaffold proteins that function in the clustering of postsynaptic proteins to maintain synaptic stability. Here, we show that each of the NLGs (NLG1-3) bind to SNX27 in a direct PDZ ligand-dependent manner. Depletion of SNX27 from neurons leads to a decrease in levels of each NLG protein and, for NLG2, this occurs as a result of enhanced lysosomal degradation. Notably, while depletion of the core retromer component VPS35 leads to a decrease in NLG1 and NLG3 levels, NLG2 is unaffected, suggesting that, for this cargo, SNX27 acts independently of retromer. Consistent with loss of SNX27 leading to enhanced lysosomal degradation of NLG2, knockdown of SNX27 results in fewer NLG2 clusters in cultured neurons, and loss of SNX27 or VPS35 reduces the size and number of gephyrin clusters. Together, these data indicate that NLGs are SNX27-retromer cargoes and suggest that SNX27-retromer controls inhibitory synapse number, at least in part through trafficking of NLG2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2019


  • Gephyrin
  • Retromer / SNX27
  • Neuroligin
  • Inhibitory synapse


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