The cell polarity scaffold Lethal Giant Larvae regulates synapse morphology and function.

Staples J, Broadie K
J Cell Sci. 2013 126 (Pt 9): 1992-2003

PMID: 23444371 · PMCID: PMC3666253 · DOI:10.1242/jcs.120139

Lethal Giant Larvae (LGL) is a cytosolic cell polarity scaffold whose loss dominantly enhances neuromuscular junction (NMJ) synaptic overgrowth caused by loss of the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP). However, direct roles for LGL in NMJ morphological and functional development have not before been tested. Here, we use confocal imaging and two-electrode voltage-clamp electrophysiology at the Drosophila larval NMJ to define the synaptic requirements of LGL. We find that LGL is expressed both pre- and postsynaptically, where the scaffold localizes at the membrane on both sides of the synaptic interface. We show that LGL has a cell autonomous presynaptic role facilitating NMJ terminal branching and synaptic bouton formation. Moreover, loss of both pre- and postsynaptic LGL strongly decreases evoked neurotransmission strength, whereas the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous synaptic vesicle fusion events is increased. Cell-targeted RNAi and rescue reveals separable pre- and postsynaptic LGL roles mediating neurotransmission. We show that presynaptic LGL facilitates the assembly of active zone vesicle fusion sites, and that neuronally targeted rescue of LGL is sufficient to ameliorate increased synaptic vesicle cycling imaged with FM1-43 dye labeling. Postsynaptically, we show that loss of LGL results in a net increase in total glutamate receptor (GluR) expression, associated with the selective elevation of GluRIIB subunit-containing receptors. Taken together, these data indicate that the presynaptic LGL scaffold facilitates the assembly of active zone fusion sites to regulate synaptic vesicle cycling, and that the postsynaptic LGL scaffold modulates glutamate receptor composition and function.

MeSH Terms (9)

Animals Drosophila melanogaster Drosophila Proteins Gene Expression Regulation Larva Receptors, Glutamate Synaptic Membranes Synaptic Transmission Tumor Suppressor Proteins

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