Isolation of the postsynaptic density: a specialization of the subsynaptic cytoskeleton.

Karl Heinz Smalla*, Patricia Klemmer, Ursula Wyneken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Postsynaptic densities (PSDs) are cytoskeletal specializations present in synaptic contacts in the central nervous system. PSDs have been considered to be subcellular organelles that maintain and cluster the synaptic signal transduction apparatus in direct contact with the actin cytoskeleton and its regulators. Synapses and PSDs are highly dynamic structures that in addition of subserving transmission of information participate in its processing and storage. Therefore, the molecular components of PSDs reveal their signal transduction capacities in health and disease. Here, we present the experimental protocol we have been using for years to isolate PSDs from other cell components, including or excluding detergent-A resistant membranes (or lipid rafts). The protocol can be applied to brain samples of different areas, ages, and mammalian species and is useful to obtain this subcellular organelle in a highly reproducible manner.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cytoskeleton
Subtitle of host publicationImaging, Isolation, and Interaction
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781627032650
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Detergent-resistant membranes
  • Postsynaptic densities
  • Subcellular fractionation
  • Synaptic junctions
  • Synaptosome


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