• dendritic spine;
  • F-actin;
  • information storage;
  • LTP;
  • protein translocation;
  • synaptic specificity


It remains poorly understood as to how newly synthesized proteins that are required to act at specific synapses are translocated into only selected subsets of potentiated dendritic spines. Here, we report that F-actin, a major component of the skeletal structure of dendritic spines, may contribute to the regulation of synaptic specificity of protein translocation. We found that the stabilization of F-actin blocked the translocation of GFP-CaMKII and inhibited the diffusion of 3-kDa dextran into spines (in 2–3 weeks cultures). Neuronal activation in hippocampal slices and cultured neurons led to an increase in the activation (decrease in the phosphorylation) of the actin depolymerization factor, cofilin, and a decrease in F-actin. Furthermore, the induction of long-term potentiation by tetanic stimulation induced local transient depolymerization of F-actin both in vivo and in hippocampal slices (8–10 weeks), and this local F-actin depolymerization was blocked by APV, a N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. These results suggest that F-actin may play a role in synaptic specificity by allowing protein translocation into only potentiated spines, gated through its depolymerization, which is probably triggered by the activation of NMDA receptors.