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Throughout the past five decades, tremendous advancements have been made in our understanding of G protein signaling and presynaptic inhibition, many of which were published in the under the tenure of Herb Tabor as Editor-in-Chief. Here, we identify these critical advances, including the formulation of the ternary complex model of G protein-coupled receptor signaling and the discovery of Gβγ as a critical signaling component of the heterotrimeric G protein, along with the nature of presynaptic inhibition and its physiological role. We provide an overview for the discovery and physiological relevance of the two known Gβγ-mediated mechanisms for presynaptic inhibition: first, the action of Gβγ on voltage-gated calcium channels to inhibit calcium influx to the presynaptic active zone and, second, the direct binding of Gβγ to the SNARE complex to displace synaptotagmin downstream of calcium entry, which has been demonstrated to be important in neurons and secretory cells. These two mechanisms act in tandem with each other in a synergistic manner to provide more complete spatiotemporal control over neurotransmitter release.
© 2019 Zurawski et al.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) functions modulate synapse formation and activity-dependent plasticity. Aberrant MMP activity is implicated in fragile X syndrome (FXS), a disease caused by the loss of the RNA-binding protein FMRP and characterized by neurological dysfunction and intellectual disability. Gene expression studies in suggest that Mmps cooperate with the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) glypican co-receptor Dally-like protein (Dlp) to restrict trans-synaptic Wnt signaling and that synaptogenic defects in the fly model of FXS are alleviated by either inhibition of Mmp or genetic reduction of Dlp. We used the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) glutamatergic synapse to test activity-dependent Dlp and Mmp intersections in the context of FXS. We found that rapid, activity-dependent synaptic bouton formation depended on secreted Mmp1. Acute neuronal stimulation reduced the abundance of Mmp2 but increased that of both Mmp1 and Dlp, as well as enhanced the colocalization of Dlp and Mmp1 at the synapse. Dlp function promoted Mmp1 abundance, localization, and proteolytic activity around synapses. Dlp glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains mediated this functional interaction with Mmp1. In the FXS fly model, activity-dependent increases in Mmp1 abundance and activity were lost but were restored by reducing the amount of synaptic Dlp. The data suggest that neuronal activity-induced, HSPG-dependent Mmp regulation drives activity-dependent synaptogenesis and that this is impaired in FXS. Thus, exploring this mechanism further may reveal therapeutic targets that have the potential to restore synaptogenesis in FXS patients.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is a potent neuromodulator capable of modifying patterns of acoustic information flow. In auditory cortex, cholinergic systems have been shown to increase salience/gain while suppressing extraneous information. However, the mechanism by which cholinergic circuits shape signal processing in the auditory thalamus (medial geniculate body, MGB) is poorly understood. The present study, in male Fischer Brown Norway rats, seeks to determine the location and function of presynaptic neuronal nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChRs) at the major inputs to MGB and characterize how nAChRs change during aging. electrophysiological/optogenetic methods were used to examine responses of MGB neurons after activation of nAChRs during a paired-pulse paradigm. Presynaptic nAChR activation increased responses evoked by stimulation of excitatory corticothalamic and inhibitory tectothalamic terminals. Conversely, nAChR activation appeared to have little effect on evoked responses from inhibitory thalamic reticular nucleus and excitatory tectothalamic terminals. hybridization data showed nAChR subunit transcripts in GABAergic inferior colliculus neurons and glutamatergic auditory cortical neurons supporting the present slice findings. Responses to nAChR activation at excitatory corticothalamic and inhibitory tectothalamic inputs were diminished by aging. These findings suggest that cholinergic input to the MGB increases the strength of tectothalamic inhibitory projections, potentially improving the signal-to-noise ratio and signal detection while increasing corticothalamic gain, which may facilitate top-down identification of stimulus identity. These mechanisms appear to be affected negatively by aging, potentially diminishing speech perception in noisy environments. Cholinergic inputs to the MGB appear to maximize sensory processing by adjusting both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in conditions of attention and arousal. The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus is the source of cholinergic innervation for sensory thalamus and is a critical part of an ascending arousal system that controls the firing mode of thalamic cells based on attentional demand. The present study describes the location and impact of aging on presynaptic neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) within the circuitry of the auditory thalamus (medial geniculate body, MGB). We show that nAChRs are located on ascending inhibitory and descending excitatory presynaptic inputs onto MGB neurons, likely increasing gain selectively and improving temporal clarity. In addition, we show that aging has a deleterious effect on nAChR efficacy. Cholinergic dysfunction at the level of MGB may affect speech understanding negatively in the elderly population.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3711378-13$15.00/0.
Spinal interneurons are critical modulators of motor circuit function. In the dorsal spinal cord, a set of interneurons called GABApre presynaptically inhibits proprioceptive sensory afferent terminals, thus negatively regulating sensory-motor signaling. Although deficits in presynaptic inhibition have been inferred in human motor diseases, including dystonia, it remains unclear whether GABApre circuit components are altered in these conditions. Here, we use developmental timing to show that GABApre neurons are a late Ptf1a-expressing subclass and localize to the intermediate spinal cord. Using a microarray screen to identify genes expressed in this intermediate population, we find the kelch-like family member Klhl14, implicated in dystonia through its direct binding with torsion-dystonia-related protein Tor1a. Furthermore, in Tor1a mutant mice in which Klhl14 and Tor1a binding is disrupted, formation of GABApre sensory afferent synapses is impaired. Our findings suggest a potential contribution of GABApre neurons to the deficits in presynaptic inhibition observed in dystonia.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Loss-of-function mutations in the potassium-chloride cotransporter KCC3 lead to Andermann syndrome, a severe sensorimotor neuropathy characterized by areflexia, amyotrophy and locomotor abnormalities. The molecular events responsible for axonal loss remain poorly understood. Here, we establish that global or neuron-specific KCC3 loss-of-function in mice leads to early neuromuscular junction (NMJ) abnormalities and muscular atrophy that are consistent with the pre-synaptic neurotransmission defects observed in patients. KCC3 depletion does not modify chloride handling, but promotes an abnormal electrical activity among primary motoneurons and mislocalization of Na/K-ATPase α1 in spinal cord motoneurons. Moreover, the activity-targeting drug carbamazepine restores Na/K-ATPase α1 localization and reduces NMJ denervation in Slc12a6 mice. We here propose that abnormal motoneuron electrical activity contributes to the peripheral neuropathy observed in Andermann syndrome.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) constitute a rapidly growing family of human diseases resulting from heritable mutations in genes driving the production and modification of glycoproteins. The resulting symptomatic hypoglycosylation causes multisystemic defects that include severe neurological impairments, revealing a particularly critical requirement for tightly regulated glycosylation in the nervous system. The most common CDG, CDG-Ia (PMM2-CDG), arises from phosphomannomutase type 2 (PMM2) mutations. Here, we report the generation and characterization of the first Drosophila CDG-Ia model. CRISPR-generated pmm2-null Drosophila mutants display severely disrupted glycosylation and early lethality, whereas RNAi-targeted knockdown of neuronal PMM2 results in a strong shift in the abundance of pauci-mannose glycan, progressive incoordination and later lethality, closely paralleling human CDG-Ia symptoms of shortened lifespan, movement impairments and defective neural development. Analyses of the well-characterized Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) reveal synaptic glycosylation loss accompanied by defects in both structural architecture and functional neurotransmission. NMJ synaptogenesis is driven by intercellular signals that traverse an extracellular synaptomatrix and are co-regulated by glycosylation and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Specifically, trans-synaptic signaling by the Wnt protein Wingless (Wg) depends on the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) co-receptor Dally-like protein (Dlp), which is regulated by synaptic MMP activity. Loss of synaptic MMP2, Wg ligand, Dlp co-receptor and downstream trans-synaptic signaling occurs with PMM2 knockdown. Taken together, this Drosophila CDG disease model provides a new avenue for the dissection of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurological impairments and is a means by which to discover and test novel therapeutic treatment strategies.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
The nucleus accumbens is highly heterogeneous, integrating regionally distinct afferent projections and accumbal interneurons, resulting in diverse local microenvironments. Dopamine (DA) neuron terminals similarly express a heterogeneous collection of terminal receptors that modulate DA signaling. Cyclic voltammetry is often used to probe DA terminal dynamics in brain slice preparations; however, this method traditionally requires electrical stimulation to induce DA release. Electrical stimulation excites all of the neuronal processes in the stimulation field, potentially introducing simultaneous, multi-synaptic modulation of DA terminal release. We used optogenetics to selectively stimulate DA terminals and used voltammetry to compare DA responses from electrical and optical stimulation of the same area of tissue around a recording electrode. We found that with multiple pulse stimulation trains, optically stimulated DA release increasingly exceeded that of electrical stimulation. Furthermore, electrical stimulation produced inhibition of DA release across longer duration stimulations. The GABAB antagonist, CGP 55845, increased electrically stimulated DA release significantly more than light stimulated release. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist, dihydro-β-erythroidine hydrobromide, inhibited single pulse electrically stimulated DA release while having no effect on optically stimulated DA release. Our results demonstrate that electrical stimulation introduces local multi-synaptic modulation of DA release that is absent with optogenetically targeted stimulation.
© 2015 International Society for Neurochemistry.
Functional variation in the gene encoding the presynaptic choline transporter (CHT) has been linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Here, we report that a heterozygous deletion in the CHT gene in mice (CHT(+/-)) limits the capacity of cholinergic neurons to sustain acetylcholine (ACh) release and attentional performance. Cortical microdialysis and amperometric methods revealed that, whereas wild-type and CHT(+/-) animals support equivalent basal ACh release and choline clearance, CHT(+/-) animals exhibit a significant inability to elevate extracellular ACh following basal forebrain stimulation, in parallel with a diminished choline clearance capacity following cessation of stimulation. Consistent with these findings, the density of CHTs in cortical synaptosomal plasma membrane-enriched fractions from unstimulated CHT(+/-) animals matched those observed in wild-type animals despite reductions in CHT levels in total extracts, achieved via a redistribution of CHT from vesicle pools. As a consequence, in CHT(+/-) animals, basal forebrain stimulation was unable to mobilize wild-type quantities of CHT to the plasma membrane. In behavioral studies, CHT(+/-) mice were impaired in performing a sustained attention task known to depend on cortical cholinergic activity. In wild-type mice, but not CHT(+/-) mice, attentional performance increased the density of CHTs in the synaptosomal membrane in the right frontal cortex. Basal CHT levels in vesicle-enriched membranes predicted the degree of CHT mobilization as well as individual variations in performance on the sustained attention task. Our findings demonstrate biochemical and physiological alterations that underlie cognitive impairments associated with genetically imposed reductions in choline uptake capacity.
The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a specialized synapse with a complex molecular architecture that provides for reliable transmission between the nerve terminal and muscle fiber. Using linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing of DNA samples from subjects with distal hereditary motor neuropathy type VII, we identified a mutation in SLC5A7, which encodes the presynaptic choline transporter (CHT), a critical determinant of synaptic acetylcholine synthesis and release at the NMJ. This dominantly segregating SLC5A7 mutation truncates the encoded product just beyond the final transmembrane domain, eliminating cytosolic-C-terminus sequences known to regulate surface transporter trafficking. Choline-transport assays in both transfected cells and monocytes from affected individuals revealed significant reductions in hemicholinium-3-sensitive choline uptake, a finding consistent with a dominant-negative mode of action. The discovery of CHT dysfunction underlying motor neuropathy identifies a biological basis for this group of conditions and widens the spectrum of disorders that derive from impaired NMJ transmission. Our findings compel consideration of mutations in SLC5A7 or its functional partners in relation to unexplained motor neuronopathies.
Copyright © 2012 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Current therapies to enhance CNS cholinergic function rely primarily on extracellular acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition, a pharmacotherapeutic strategy that produces dose-limiting side effects. The Na(+)-dependent, high-affinity choline transporter (CHT) is an unexplored target for cholinergic medication development. Although functional at the plasma membrane, CHT at steady-state is localized to synaptic vesicles such that vesicular fusion can support a biosynthetic response to neuronal excitation. To identify allosteric potentiators of CHT activity, we mapped endocytic sequences in the C-terminus of human CHT, identifying transporter mutants that exhibit significantly increased transport function. A stable HEK-293 cell line was generated from one of these mutants (CHT LV-AA) and used to establish a high-throughput screen (HTS) compatible assay based on the electrogenic nature of the transporter. We established that the addition of choline to these cells, at concentrations appropriate for high-affinity choline transport at presynaptic terminals, generates a hemicholinium-3 (HC-3)-sensitive, membrane depolarization that can be used for the screening of CHT inhibitors and activators. Using this assay, we discovered that staurosporine increased CHT LV-AA choline uptake activity, an effect mediated by a decrease in choline K(M) with no change in V(max). As staurosporine did not change surface levels of CHT, nor inhibit HC-3 binding, we propose that its action is directly or indirectly allosteric in nature. Surprisingly, staurosporine reduced choline-induced membrane depolarization, suggesting that increased substrate coupling to ion gradients, arising at the expense of nonstoichiometric ion flow, accompanies a shift of CHT to a higher-affinity state. Our findings provide a new approach for the identification of CHT modulators that is compatible with high-throughput screening approaches and presents a novel model by which small molecules can enhance substrate flux through enhanced gradient coupling.