Neuronal plasticity relies on tightly regulated control of protein levels at synapses. One mechanism to control protein abundance is the ubiquitin-proteasome degradation system. Recent studies have implicated ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation in synaptic development, function, and plasticity, but little is known about the regulatory mechanisms controlling ubiquitylation in neurons. In contrast, ubiquitylation has long been studied as a central regulator of the eukaryotic cell cycle. A critical mediator of cell-cycle transitions, the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C), is an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Although the APC/C has been detected in several differentiated cell types, a functional role for the complex in postmitotic cells has been elusive. We describe a novel postmitotic role for the APC/C at Drosophila neuromuscular synapses: independent regulation of synaptic growth and synaptic transmission. In neurons, the APC/C controls synaptic size via a downstream effector Liprin-alpha; in muscles, the APC/C regulates synaptic transmission, controlling the concentration of a postsynaptic glutamate receptor.
van Roessel, P., Elliott, D. A., Robinson, I. M., Prokop, A., & Brand, A. H. (2004). Independent regulation of synaptic size and activity by the anaphase-promoting complex. Cell, 119(5), 707 - 718. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2004.11.028