Overexpression of cypin alters dendrite morphology, single neuron activity, and network properties via distinct mechanisms

Ana R. Rodríguez, Kate M. O'Neill, Przemyslaw Swiatkowski, Mihir V. Patel, Bonnie L. Firestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective. This study investigates the effect that overexpression of cytosolic PSD-95 interactor (cypin), a regulator of synaptic PSD-95 protein localization and a core regulator of dendrite branching, exerts on the electrical activity of rat hippocampal neurons and networks. Approach. We cultured rat hippocampal neurons and used lipid-mediated transfection and lentiviral gene transfer to achieve high levels of cypin or cypin mutant (cypinΔPDZ; PSD-95 non-binding) expression cellularly and network-wide, respectively. Main results. Our analysis revealed that although overexpression of cypin and cypinΔPDZ increase dendrite numbers and decrease spine density, cypin and cypinΔPDZ distinctly regulate neuronal activity. At the single cell level, cypin promotes decreases in bursting activity while cypinΔPDZ reduces sEPSC frequency and further decreases bursting compared to cypin. At the network level, by using the Fano factor as a measure of spike count variability, cypin overexpression results in an increase in variability of spike count, and this effect is abolished when cypin cannot bind PSD-95. This variability is also dependent on baseline activity levels and on mean spike rate over time. Finally, our spike sorting data show that overexpression of cypin results in a more complex distribution of spike waveforms and that binding to PSD-95 is essential for this complexity. Significance. Our data suggest that dendrite morphology does not play a major role in cypin action on electrical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016020
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Fano factor
  • cytosolic PSD-95 interactor (cypin)
  • dendrites
  • electrophysiology
  • hippocampal neurons
  • neuronal networks
  • spike sorting


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