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Hilar mossy cells (HMCs) in the hippocampus receive glutamatergic input from dentate granule cells (DGCs) via mossy fibers (MFs) and back-projections from CA3 pyramidal neuron collateral axons. Many fundamental features of these excitatory synapses have not been characterized in detail despite their potential relevance to hippocampal cognitive processing and epilepsy-induced adaptations in circuit excitability. In this study, we compared pre- and postsynaptic parameters between MF and CA3 inputs to HMCs in young and adult mice of either sex and determined the relative contributions of the respective excitatory inputs during and models of hippocampal hyperexcitability. The two types of excitatory synapses both exhibited a modest degree of short-term plasticity, with MF inputs to HMCs exhibiting lower paired-pulse (PP) and frequency facilitation than was described previously for MF-CA3 pyramidal cell synapses. MF-HMC synapses exhibited unitary excitatory synaptic currents (EPSCs) of larger amplitude, contained postsynaptic kainate receptors, and had a lower NMDA/AMPA receptor ratio compared to CA3-HMC synapses. Pharmacological induction of hippocampal hyperexcitability transformed the abundant but relatively weak CA3-HMC connections to very large amplitude spontaneous bursts of compound EPSCs (cEPSCs) in young mice (∼P20) and, to a lesser degree, in adult mice (∼P70). CA3-HMC cEPSCs were also observed in slices prepared from mice with spontaneous seizures several weeks after intrahippocampal kainate injection. Strong excitation of HMCs during synchronous CA3 activity represents an avenue of significant excitatory network generation back to DGCs and might be important in generating epileptic networks.
Cochlear synaptopathy can result from various insults, including acoustic trauma, aging, ototoxicity, or chronic conductive hearing loss. For example, moderate noise exposure in mice can destroy up to ∼50% of synapses between auditory nerve fibers (ANFs) and inner hair cells (IHCs) without affecting outer hair cells (OHCs) or thresholds, because the synaptopathy occurs first in high-threshold ANFs. However, the fiber loss likely impairs temporal processing and hearing-in-noise, a classic complaint of those with sensorineural hearing loss. Non-human primates appear to be less vulnerable to noise-induced hair-cell loss than rodents, but their susceptibility to synaptopathy has not been studied. Because establishing a non-human primate model may be important in the development of diagnostics and therapeutics, we examined cochlear innervation and the damaging effects of acoustic overexposure in young adult rhesus macaques. Anesthetized animals were exposed bilaterally to narrow-band noise centered at 2 kHz at various sound-pressure levels for 4 h. Cochlear function was assayed for up to 8 weeks following exposure via auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). A moderate loss of synaptic connections (mean of 12-27% in the basal half of the cochlea) followed temporary threshold shifts (TTS), despite minimal hair-cell loss. A dramatic loss of synapses (mean of 50-75% in the basal half of the cochlea) was seen on IHCs surviving noise exposures that produced permanent threshold shifts (PTS) and widespread hair-cell loss. Higher noise levels were required to produce PTS in macaques compared to rodents, suggesting that primates are less vulnerable to hair-cell loss. However, the phenomenon of noise-induced cochlear synaptopathy in primates is similar to that seen in rodents.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Voltage-gated Ca1.2 and Ca1.3 (L-type) Ca channels regulate neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory. Densin-180 (densin) is an excitatory synaptic protein that promotes Ca-dependent facilitation of voltage-gated Ca1.3 Ca channels in transfected cells. Mice lacking densin (densin KO) exhibit defects in synaptic plasticity, spatial memory, and increased anxiety-related behaviors-phenotypes that more closely match those in mice lacking Ca1.2 than Ca1.3. Therefore, we investigated the functional impact of densin on Ca1.2. We report that densin is an essential regulator of Ca1.2 in neurons, but has distinct modulatory effects compared with its regulation of Ca1.3. Densin binds to the N-terminal domain of Ca1.2, but not that of Ca1.3, and increases Ca1.2 currents in transfected cells and in neurons. In transfected cells, densin accelerates the forward trafficking of Ca1.2 channels without affecting their endocytosis. Consistent with a role for densin in increasing the number of postsynaptic Ca1.2 channels, overexpression of densin increases the clustering of Ca1.2 in dendrites of hippocampal neurons in culture. Compared with wild-type mice, the cell surface levels of Ca1.2 in the brain, as well as Ca1.2 current density and signaling to the nucleus, are reduced in neurons from densin KO mice. We conclude that densin is an essential regulator of neuronal Ca1 channels and ensures efficient Ca1.2 Ca signaling at excitatory synapses. The number and localization of voltage-gated Ca Ca channels are crucial determinants of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. We report that the protein densin-180 is highly enriched at excitatory synapses in the brain and enhances the cell surface trafficking and postsynaptic localization of Ca1.2 L-type Ca channels in neurons. This interaction promotes coupling of Ca1.2 channels to activity-dependent gene transcription. Our results reveal a mechanism that may contribute to the roles of Ca1.2 in regulating cognition and mood.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/374679-13$15.00/0.
Stress is a ubiquitous risk factor for the exacerbation and development of affective disorders including major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms conferring resilience to the adverse consequences of stress could have broad implications for the treatment and prevention of mood and anxiety disorders. We utilize laboratory mice and their innate inter-individual differences in stress-susceptibility to demonstrate a critical role for the endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in stress-resilience. Specifically, systemic 2-AG augmentation is associated with a stress-resilient phenotype and enhances resilience in previously susceptible mice, while systemic 2-AG depletion or CB1 receptor blockade increases susceptibility in previously resilient mice. Moreover, stress-resilience is associated with increased phasic 2-AG-mediated synaptic suppression at ventral hippocampal-amygdala glutamatergic synapses and amygdala-specific 2-AG depletion impairs successful adaptation to repeated stress. These data indicate amygdala 2-AG signalling mechanisms promote resilience to adverse effects of acute traumatic stress and facilitate adaptation to repeated stress exposure.
Evidence accumulating over the past 15 years soundly refutes the dogma that the Drosophila nervous system is hardwired. The preponderance of studies reveals activity-dependent neural circuit refinement driving optimization of behavioral outputs. We describe developmental, sensory input-dependent plasticity in the brain olfactory antennal lobe, which we term long-term central adaption (LTCA). LTCA is evoked by prolonged exposure to an odorant during the first week of posteclosion life, resulting in a persistently decreased response to aversive odors and an enhanced response to attractive odors. This limited window of early-use, experience-dependent plasticity represents a critical period of olfactory circuit refinement tuned by initial sensory input. Consequent behavioral adaptations have been associated with changes in the output of olfactory projection neurons to higher brain centers. Recent studies have indicated a central role for local interneuron signaling in LTCA presentation. Genetic and molecular analyses have implicated the mRNA-binding fragile X mental retardation protein and ataxin-2 regulators, Notch trans-synaptic signaling, and cAMP signal transduction as core regulatory steps driving LTCA. In this article, we discuss the structural, functional, and behavioral changes associated with LTCA and review our current understanding of the molecular pathways underlying these developmental, experience-dependent changes in the olfactory circuitry.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
The multiple galactosemia disease states manifest long-term neurological symptoms. Galactosemia I results from loss of galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GALT), which converts galactose-1-phosphate + UDP-glucose to glucose-1-phosphate + UDP-galactose. Galactosemia II results from loss of galactokinase (GALK), phosphorylating galactose to galactose-1-phosphate. Galactosemia III results from the loss of UDP-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE), which interconverts UDP-galactose and UDP-glucose, as well as UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine and UDP-N-acetylglucosamine. UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGP) alternatively makes UDP-galactose from uridine triphosphate and galactose-1-phosphate. All four UDP-sugars are essential donors for glycoprotein biosynthesis with critical roles at the developing neuromuscular synapse. Drosophila galactosemia I (dGALT) and II (dGALK) disease models genetically interact; manifesting deficits in coordinated movement, neuromuscular junction (NMJ) development, synaptic glycosylation, and Wnt trans-synaptic signalling. Similarly, dGALE and dUGP mutants display striking locomotor and NMJ formation defects, including expanded synaptic arbours, glycosylation losses, and differential changes in Wnt trans-synaptic signalling. In combination with dGALT loss, both dGALE and dUGP mutants compromise the synaptomatrix glycan environment that regulates Wnt trans-synaptic signalling that drives 1) presynaptic Futsch/MAP1b microtubule dynamics and 2) postsynaptic Frizzled nuclear import (FNI). Taken together, these findings indicate UDP-sugar balance is a key modifier of neurological outcomes in all three interacting galactosemia disease models, suggest that Futsch homolog MAP1B and the Wnt Frizzled receptor may be disease-relevant targets in epimerase and transferase galactosemias, and identify UGP as promising new potential therapeutic target for galactosemia neuropathology.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) family members are integrated into supramolecular complexes that modulate their location and function at excitatory synapses. However, a lack of structural information beyond isolated receptors or fragments thereof currently limits the mechanistic understanding of physiological iGluR signaling. Here, we report structural and functional analyses of the prototypical molecular bridge linking postsynaptic iGluR δ2 (GluD2) and presynaptic β-neurexin 1 (β-NRX1) via Cbln1, a C1q-like synaptic organizer. We show how Cbln1 hexamers "anchor" GluD2 amino-terminal domain dimers to monomeric β-NRX1. This arrangement promotes synaptogenesis and is essential for D: -serine-dependent GluD2 signaling in vivo, which underlies long-term depression of cerebellar parallel fiber-Purkinje cell (PF-PC) synapses and motor coordination in developing mice. These results lead to a model where protein and small-molecule ligands synergistically control synaptic iGluR function.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are a class of bioactive lipids that mediate retrograde synaptic modulation at central and peripheral synapses. The highly lipophilic nature of eCBs and the pharmacological tools available to interrogate this system require unique methodological consideration, especially when applied to ex vivo systems such as electrophysiological analysis in acute brain slices. This unit provides protocols for measuring cannabinoid and eCB-mediated synaptic signaling in mouse brain slices, including analysis of short-term, long-term, and tonic eCB signaling modes, and the unique considerations for working with eCBs and TRPV1/cannabinoid ligands in acute brain slices.
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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 endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) system has been suggested to play a key role in ethanol preference and intake, the acute effects of ethanol, and in the development of withdrawal symptoms following ethanol dependence. Ethanol-dependent alterations in glutamatergic signaling within the lateral/basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) are critical for the development and expression of withdrawal-induced anxiety. Notably, the eCB system significantly regulates both glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic activity within the BLA. Chronic ethanol exposure significantly alters eCB system expression within regions critical to the expression of emotionality and anxiety-related behavior, including the BLA. Here, we investigated specific interactions between the BLA eCB system and its functional regulation of synaptic activity during acute and chronic ethanol exposure. In tissue from ethanol naïve-rats, a prolonged acute ethanol exposure caused a dose dependent inhibition of glutamatergic synaptic activity via a presynaptic mechanism that was occluded by CB1 antagonist/inverse agonists SR141716a and AM251. Importantly, this acute ethanol inhibition was attenuated following 10 day chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure (CIE). CIE exposure also significantly down-regulated CB1-mediated presynaptic inhibition at glutamatergic afferent terminals but spared CB1-inhibition of GABAergic synapses arising from local inhibitory-interneurons. CIE also significantly elevated BLA N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA or anandamide) levels and decreased CB1 receptor protein levels. Collectively, these data suggest a dynamic regulation of the BLA eCB system by acute and chronic ethanol.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.