Homer is a postsynaptic scaffold protein, which has long and short isoforms. The long form of Homer consists of an N-terminal target-binding domain and a C-terminal multimerization domain, linking multiple proteins within a complex. The short form of Homer only has the N-terminal domain and likely acts as a dominant negative regulator. Homer2a, one of the long form isoforms of the Homer family, expresses with a transient peak in the early postnatal stage of mouse cerebellar granule cells (CGCs); however, the functions of Homer2a in CGCs are not fully understood yet. In this study, we investigated the physiological roles of Homer2a in CGCs using recombinant adenovirus vectors. Overexpression of the Homer2a N-terminal domain construct, which was made structurally reminiscent with Homer1a, altered NMDAR1 localization, decreased NMDA currents, and promoted the survival of CGCs. These results suggest that the Homer2a N-terminal domain acts as a dominant negative protein to attenuate NMDAR-mediated excitotoxicity. Moreover, we identified a novel short form N-terminal domain-containing Homer2, named Homer2e, which was induced by apoptotic stimulation such as ischemic brain injury. Our study suggests that the long and short forms of Homer2 are involved in apoptosis of CGCs.
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