Shank proteins make up a new family of scaffold proteins recently identified through their interaction with a variety of membrane and cytoplasmic proteins. Shank polypeptides contain multiple sites for protein-protein interaction, including ankyrin repeats, an SH3 domain, a PDZ domain, a long proline-rich region, and a SAM domain. Binding partners for most of these domains have been identified: for instance, the PDZ domain of Shank proteins interacts with GKAP (a postsynaptic-density protein) as well as several G-protein-coupled receptors. The specific localization of Shank proteins at postsynaptic sites of brain excitatory synapses suggests a role for this family of proteins in the organization of cytoskeletal/ signaling complexes at specialized cell junctions.

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