The Homer family proteins
1 Laboratory for Molecular Neurobiology, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
2 Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan
Genome Biology 2007, 8:206 doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-2-206Published: 21 February 2007
The Homer family of adaptor proteins consists of three members in mammals, and homologs are also known in other animals but not elsewhere. They are predominantly localized at the postsynaptic density in mammalian neurons and act as adaptor proteins for many postsynaptic density proteins. As a result of alternative splicing each member has several variants, which are classified primarily into the long and short forms. The long Homer forms are constitutively expressed and consist of two major domains: the amino-terminal target-binding domain, which includes an Enabled/vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (Ena/VASP) homology 1 (EVH1) domain, and the carboxy-terminal self-assembly domain containing a coiled-coil structure and leucine zipper motif. Multimers of long Homer proteins, coupled through their carboxy-terminal domains, are thought to form protein clusters with other postsynaptic density proteins, which are bound through the amino-terminal domains. Such Homer-mediated clustering probably regulates or facilitates signal transduction or cross-talk between target proteins. The short Homer forms lack the carboxy-terminal domain; they are expressed in an activity-dependent manner as immediate-early gene products, possibly disrupting Homer clusters by competitive binding to target proteins. Homer proteins are also involved in diverse non-neural physiological functions.