Integrative analysis of brain region-specific Shank3 interactomes for understanding the heterogeneity of neuronal pathophysiology related to SHANK3 mutations

Yeunkum Lee, Hyojin Kang, Bokyoung Lee, Yinhua Zhang, Yoonhee Kim, Shinhyun Kim, Won-Ki Kim, Kihoon Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent molecular genetic studies have identified 100s of risk genes for various neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. As the number of risk genes increases, it is becoming clear that different mutations of a single gene could cause different types of disorders. One of the best examples of such a gene is SHANK3, which encodes a core scaffold protein of the neuronal excitatory post-synapse. Deletions, duplications, and point mutations of SHANK3 are associated with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nevertheless, how the different mutations of SHANK3 can lead to such phenotypic diversity remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigated whether Shank3 could form protein complexes in a brain region-specific manner, which might contribute to the heterogeneity of neuronal pathophysiology caused by SHANK3 mutations. To test this, we generated a medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) Shank3 in vivo interactome consisting of 211 proteins, and compared this protein list with a Shank3 interactome previously generated from mixed hippocampal and striatal (HP+STR) tissues. Unexpectedly, we found that only 47 proteins (about 20%) were common between the two interactomes, while 164 and 208 proteins were specifically identified in the mPFC and HP+STR interactomes, respectively. Each of the mPFC- and HP+STR-specific Shank3 interactomes represents a highly interconnected network. Upon comparing the brain region-enriched proteomes, we found that the large difference between the mPFC and HP+STR Shank3 interactomes could not be explained by differential protein expression profiles among the brain regions. Importantly, bioinformatic pathway analysis revealed that the representative biological functions of the mPFC- and HP+STR-specific Shank3 interactomes were different, suggesting that these interactors could mediate the brain region-specific functions of Shank3. Meanwhile, the same analysis on the common Shank3 interactors, including Homer and GKAP/SAPAP proteins, suggested that they could mainly function as scaffolding proteins at the post-synaptic density. Lastly, we found that the mPFC- and HP+STR-specific Shank3 interactomes contained a significant number of proteins associated with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. These results suggest that Shank3 can form protein complexes in a brain region-specific manner, which might contribute to the pathophysiological and phenotypic diversity of disorders related to SHANK3 mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 19



  • Hippocampus
  • Interactome
  • mPFC
  • Shank3
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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