The causes of major depression remain unknown. Antidepressants elevate monoamine concentrations, particularly serotonin, but it remains uncertain which downstream events are critical to their therapeutic effects. We report that endogenous serotonin selectively potentiated excitatory synapses formed by the temporoammonic (TA) pathway with CA1 pyramidal cells via activation of 5-HT1BRs, without affecting nearby Schaffer collateral synapses. This potentiation was expressed postsynaptically by AMPA-type glutamate receptors and required calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation of GluA1 subunits. Because they share common expression mechanisms, long-term potentiation and serotonin-induced potentiation occluded each other. Long-term consolidation of spatial learning, a function of TA-CA1 synapses, was enhanced by 5-HT1BR antagonists. Serotonin-induced potentiation was quantitatively and qualitatively altered in a rat model of depression, restored by chronic antidepressants, and required for the ability of chronic antidepressants to reverse stress-induced anhedonia. Changes in serotonin-mediated potentiation, and its recovery by antidepressants, implicate excitatory synapses as a locus of plasticity in depression.
AMPA receptors (AMPARs) mediate the majority of fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain. Dynamic changes in neuronal synaptic efficacy, termed synaptic plasticity, are thought to underlie information coding and storage in learning and memory. One major mechanism that regulates synaptic strength involves the tightly regulated trafficking of AMPARs into and out of synapses. The life cycle of AMPARs from their biosynthesis, membrane trafficking and synaptic targeting to their degradation are controlled by a series of orchestrated interactions with numerous intracellular regulatory proteins. Here we review recent progress made towards the understanding the regulation of AMPAR trafficking, focusing on the roles of several key intracellular AMPAR interacting proteins.
Motivation: The synapse is integral to the function of the brain and may be an important source of dysfunction underlying many neuropsychiatric disorders. Consequently, it is an excellent candidate for large-scale genomic and proteomic study. However, while the tools and databases available for the annotation of high-throughput DNA and protein are generally robust, a comprehensive resource dedicated to the integration of information about the synapse is lacking.
Results: We present an integrated database, called SynaptomeDB, to retrieve and annotate genes comprising the synaptome. These genes encode components of the synapse including neurotransmitters and their receptors, adhesion/cytoskeletal proteins, scaffold proteins, membrane transporters. SynaptomeDB integrates various and complex data sources for synaptic genes and proteins.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Homeostatic synaptic scaling calibrates neuronal excitability by adjusting synaptic strengths during prolonged changes in synaptic activity. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the trafficking of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) during synaptic scaling are largely unknown. Here we show that chronic activity blockade reduces PICK1 protein level on a time scale that coincides with the accumulation of surface AMPARs. PICK1 loss of function alters the subunit composition and the abundance of GluA2-containing AMPARs. Due to aberrant trafficking of these receptors, the increase in synaptic strength in response to synaptic inactivity is occluded in neurons generated from PICK1 knockout mouse. In agreement with electrophysiological recordings, no defect of AMPAR trafficking is observed in PICK1 knockout neurons in response to elevated neuronal activity. Overall, our data reveal an important role of PICK1 in inactivity-induced synaptic scaling by regulating the subunit composition, abundance and trafficking of GluA2-containing AMPARs.
AMPA receptors; PICK1; homeostatic plasticity; synaptic scaling
While AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) found at principal neuron excitatory synapses typically contain the GluR2 subunit, several forms of behavioral experience have been linked to the de novo synaptic insertion of calcium-permeable (CP) AMPARs defined by their lack of GluR2. In particular, whisker experience drives synaptic potentiation as well as the incorporation of CP-AMPARs in the neocortex. Previous studies implicate PICK1 (protein interacting with C kinase-1) in activity-dependent internalization of GluR2, suggesting one potential mechanism leading to the subsequent accumulation of synaptic CP-AMPARs and increased synaptic strength. Here we test this hypothesis by employing a whisker stimulation paradigm in PICK1 knockout mice. We demonstrate that PICK1 facilitates the surface expression of CP-AMPARs and is indispensible for their experience-dependent synaptic insertion. However, the failure to incorporate CP-AMPARs in PICK1 knockouts does not preclude sensory-induced enhancement of synaptic currents. Our results indicate that synaptic strengthening in the early postnatal cortex does not require PICK1 or the addition of GluR2-lacking AMPARs. Instead, PICK1 permits changes in AMPAR subunit composition to occur in conjunction with synaptic potentiation.
AMPA receptor; plasticity; synaptic plasticity; somatosensory; somatosensory cortex; cortex
Assemblies of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides are pathological mediators of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and are produced by the sequential cleavages of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-secretase (BACE1) and γ-secretase. The generation of Aβ is coupled to neuronal activity, however the molecular basis is unknown. Here, we report that the immediate early gene Arc is required for activity-dependent generation of Aβ. Arc is a postsynaptic protein that recruits endophilin2/3 and dynamin to early/recycling endosomes that traffic AMPA receptors to reduce synaptic strength in both Hebbian and non-Hebbian forms of plasticity. The Arc-endosome also traffics APP and BACE1, and Arc physically associates with presenilin1 (PS1) to regulate γ-secretase trafficking and confer activity-dependence. Genetic deletion of Arc reduces Aβ load in a transgenic mouse model of AD. In concert with the finding that patients with AD can express anomalously high levels of Arc, we hypothesize that Arc participates in the pathogenesis of AD.
KIBRA has recently been identified as a gene associated with human memory performance. Despite the elucidation of the role of KIBRA in several diverse processes in non-neuronal cells, the molecular function of KIBRA in neurons is unknown. We found that KIBRA directly binds to the protein interacting with C-kinase 1 (PICK1) and forms a complex with α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors (AMPARs), the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. KIBRA knockdown accelerates the rate of AMPAR recycling following N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor induced internalization. Genetic deletion of KIBRA in mice impairs both long-term depression and long-term potentiation at hippocampal Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses. Moreover, KIBRA knockout mice have severe deficits in contextual fear learning and memory. These results indicate that KIBRA regulates higher brain function by regulating AMPAR trafficking and synaptic plasticity.
The insertion of alpha–amino–3–hydroxy–5–methyl–4–isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs) into the plasma membrane is a key step in synaptic delivery of AMPARs during the expression of synaptic plasticity. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating AMPAR insertion remain elusive. By directly visualizing individual insertion events of the AMPAR subunit GluR1, we demonstrate that Protein 4.1N is required for activity dependent GluR1 insertion. PKC phosphorylation of GluR1 S816 and S818 residues enhances 4.1N binding to GluR1, and facilitates GluR1 insertion. In addition, palmitoylation of GluR1 C811 residue modulates PKC phosphorylation and GluR1 insertion. Finally, disrupting 4.1N dependent GluR1 insertion decreases surface expression of GluR1 and the expression of long–term potentiation (LTP). Our study uncovers a novel mechanism that governs activity dependent GluR1 trafficking, reveals an interesting interplay between AMPAR palmitoylation and phosphorylation, and underscores the functional significance of the 4.1N protein in AMPAR trafficking and synaptic plasticity.
Palmitoylation, a key regulatory mechanism controlling protein targeting, is catalyzed by DHHC-family palmitoyl acyltransferases (PATs). Impaired PAT activity is linked to several neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, suggesting critical roles for palmitoylation in neuronal function. However, few substrates for specific PATs are known, and functional consequences of specific palmitoylation events are frequently uncharacterized. Here, we identify two related PATs, DHHC5 and DHHC8, as specific regulators of the PDZ domain protein GRIP1b. Binding, palmitoylation and dendritic targeting of GRIP1b require a DHHC5/8 PDZ ligand that is absent in all other PATs. Palmitoylated GRIP1b is targeted to trafficking endosomes, and may link endosomes to kinesin motors. Consistent with this trafficking role, GRIP1b's palmitoylation turnover rate approaches the highest of all reported proteins, and palmitoylation increases GRIP1b's ability to accelerate AMPA-R recycling. These findings identify the first neuronal DHHC5/8 substrate, define novel mechanisms controlling palmitoylation specificity, and suggest further links between dysregulated palmitoylation and neurodevelopmental / neuropsychiatric conditions.
Background: AMPA receptor (AMPA-R) complexes are key players for synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity.
Results: Optimized proteomic analyses of AMPA-R complexes revealed novel components of AMPA-R complexes.
Conclusion: Optimization of solubilization, enrichment, and immunoprecipitation processes is necessary for AMPA-R complexes proteomics.
Significance: This study contributes to our understanding of synaptic transmission and plasticity and to proteomics of other receptor and ion channel complexes.
The AMPA receptor (AMPA-R) is a major excitatory neurotransmitter receptor in the brain. Identifying and characterizing the neuronal proteins interacting with AMPA-Rs have provided important information about the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and plasticity. In this study, to identify more AMPA-R interactors in vivo, we performed proteomic analyses of AMPA-R complexes from the brain. AMPA-R complexes were isolated from the brain through various combinations of biochemical techniques for solubilization, enrichment, and immunoprecipitation. Mass spectrometry analyses of these isolated complexes identified several novel components of the AMPA-R complexes as well as some previously identified components. The identification of these novel components helps to further define the complex mechanisms involved in the regulation of AMPA receptor function and synaptic plasticity.
Glutamate Receptors Ionotropic (AMPA, NMDA); Neurochemistry; Neuroscience; Neurotransmitter Receptors; Protein Complexes; Protein Purification; Protein-Protein Interactions; Proteomics; Synaptic Plasticity; Synaptic Transmission
Homeostatic scaling is a non-Hebbian form of neural plasticity that maintains neuronal excitability and informational content of synaptic arrays in the face of changes of network activity. Here, we demonstrate that homeostatic scaling is dependent on group I metabotropic glutamate receptor activation that is mediated by the immediate early gene Homer1a. Homer1a is transiently up-regulated during increases in network activity and evokes agonist-independent signaling of group I mGluRs that scales down the expression of synaptic AMPA receptors. Homer1a effects are dynamic and play a role in the induction of scaling. Similar to mGluR-LTD, Homer1a-dependent scaling involves a reduction of tyrosine phosphorylation of GluA2 (GluR2), but is distinct in that it exploits a unique signaling property of group I mGluR to confer cell-wide, agonist-independent activation of the receptor. These studies reveal an elegant interplay of mechanisms that underlie Hebbian and non-Hebbian plasticity.
Protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1) is a PDZ-containing protein that binds to AMPA receptor (AMPAR) GluR2 subunit and protein kinase Cα (PKCα) in the central neurons. It functions as a targeting and transport protein, presents the activated form of PKCα to synaptic GluR2, and participates in synaptic AMPAR trafficking in the nervous system. Thus, PICK1 might be involved in many physiological and pathological processes triggered via the activation of AMPARs. We report here that PICK1 knockout mice display impaired mechanical and thermal pain hypersensitivities during complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced inflammatory pain maintenance. Acute transient knockdown of spinal cord PICK1 through intrathecal injection of PICK1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide had a similar effect. In contrast, knockout and knockdown of spinal cord PICK1 did not affect incision-induced guarding pain behaviors or mechanical or thermal pain hypersensitivities. We also found that PICK1 is highly expressed in dorsal horn, where it interacts with GluR2 and PKCα. Injection of CFA into a hind paw, but not a hind paw incision, increased PKCα-mediated GluR2 phosphorylation at Ser880 and GluR2 internalization in dorsal horn. These increases were absent when spinal cord PICK1 was deficient. Given that dorsal horn PKCα-mediated GluR2 phosphorylation at Ser880 and GluR2 internalization contribute to the maintenance of CFA-induced inflammatory pain, our findings suggest that spinal PICK1 may participate in the maintenance of persistent inflammatory pain, but not in incision-induced post-operative pain, through promoting PKCα-mediated GluR2 phosphorylation and internalization in dorsal horn neurons.
Protein interacting with C kinase 1; AMPA receptors; Protein kinase Cα; Spinal cord; Inflammatory pain; Incisional pain
To clarify the involvement of GluR2 and GluR3 subunits of AMPA receptor in orofacial neuropathic pain, we studied changes in nocifensive behavior and extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation followed by infraorbital nerve (ION)-partial transection model applied to GluR2 or GluR3 delta7 knock-in (KI) mice. In these animals, last seven amino acids of GluR2 or GluR3 subunit, the binding sites of interacting protein, are deleted in vivo. Head-withdrawal threshold to mechanical stimulation of the whisker pad skin ipsilateral to ION-partial transection was significantly reduced at 1, 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14 days after transection compared with that before transection in wild-type mice. In the GluR2 and GluR3 delta7 KI mice, the head-withdrawal threshold did not change following ION-partial transection. The number of pERK-LI cells examined in Vc and C1–C2 in wild-type mice after the non-noxious stimulation was larger than that of GluR2 and GluR3 delta7 KI mice.
The present findings suggest that GluR2 and GluR3 subunits of AMPA receptor play roles in the trigeminal nerve injury-mediated enhancement of Vc and C1–C2 neuronal excitability, and hyperalgesia.
Infraorbital nerve injury; Phosphorylation of extracellular; signal-regulated kinase; AMPA receptor; Neuropathic pain
Reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton is essential for synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Presently, the mechanisms that trigger actin dynamics during these brain processes are poorly understood. In this study, we show that myosin II motor activity is downstream of LTP induction and is necessary for the emergence of specialized actin structures that stabilize an early phase of LTP. We also demonstrate that myosin II activity contributes importantly to an actin-dependent process that underlies memory consolidation. Pharmacological treatments that promote actin polymerization reversed the effects of a myosin II inhibitor on LTP and memory. We conclude that myosin II motors regulate plasticity by imparting mechanical forces onto the spine actin cytoskeleton in response to synaptic stimulation. These cytoskeletal forces trigger the emergence of actin structures that stabilize synaptic plasticity. Our studies provide a novel mechanical framework for understanding cytoskeletal dynamics associated with synaptic plasticity and memory formation.
Ongoing synaptic function and rapid, bidirectional plasticity are both controlled by regulatory mechanisms within dendritic spines. Spine actin dynamics maintain synapse structure and function, and cytoskeletal rearrangements in these structures trigger structural and functional plasticity. Therefore, proteins that interact with actin filaments are attractive candidates to regulate synaptic actin dynamics, and thus, synapse structure and function. Here, we have cloned the rat isoform of class II myosin heavy chain MyH7B in brain. Unexpectedly, this isoform resembles muscle-type myosin II, rather than the ubiquitously expressed non-muscle myosin II isoforms, suggesting that a rich functional diversity of myosin II motors may exist in neurons. Indeed, reducing the expression of MyH7B in mature neurons caused profound alterations to dendritic spine structure and excitatory synaptic strength. Structurally, dendritic spines had large, irregular shaped heads that contained many filopodia-like protrusions. Neurons with reduced MyH7B expression also had impaired mEPSC amplitudes, accompanied by a decrease in synaptic AMPA receptors, which was linked to alterations of the actin cytoskeleton. MyH7B-mediated control over spine morphology and synaptic strength was distinct from that of a non-muscle myosin, myosin IIb. Interestingly, when myosin IIb and MyH7B expression were simultaneously knocked-down in neurons, a third, more pronounced phenotype emerged. Taken together, our data provide evidence that distinct myosin II isoforms work together to regulate synapse structure and function in cultured hippocampal neurons. Thus, myosin II motor activity is emerging as a broad regulatory mechanism for control over complex actin networks within dendritic spines.
actin; myosin; dendritic spine; synaptic transmission; AMPA receptors; plasticity
Long-term depression at parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapses (PF-PC LTD) has been proposed to be required for cerebellar motor learning. To date, tests of this hypothesis have sought to interfere with receptors (mGluR1) and enzymes (PKC, PKG, or αCamKII) necessary for induction of PF-PC LTD and thereby determine if cerebellar motor learning is impaired. Here, we tested three mutant mice that target the expression of PF-PC LTD by blocking internalization of AMPA receptors. Using three different cerebellar coordination tasks (adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, eyeblink conditioning, and locomotion learning on the Erasmus Ladder), we show that there is no motor learning impairment in these mutant mice that lack PF-PC LTD. These findings demonstrate that PF-PC LTD is not essential for cerebellar motor learning.
Traumatic fear memories can be inhibited by behavioral therapy for humans, or by extinction training in rodent models, but are prone to recur. Under some conditions, however, these treatments generate a permanent effect on behavior, which suggests that emotional memory erasure has occurred. The neural basis for such disparate outcomes is unknown. We found that a central component of extinction-induced erasure is the synaptic removal of calcium-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors (AMPARs) in the lateral amygdala. A transient up-regulation of this form of plasticity, which involves phosphorylation of the glutamate receptor 1 subunit of the AMPA receptor, defines a temporal window in which fear memory can be degraded by behavioral experience. These results reveal a molecular mechanism for fear erasure and the relative instability of recent memory.
Misshapen/NIKs-related Kinase (MINK) and closely related TRAF2/Nck-interacting kinase (TNIK) are proteins that specifically bind to activated Rap2 and are thus hypothesized to relay its downstream signal transduction. Activated Rap2 has been found to stimulate dendritic pruning, reduce synaptic density and cause removal of synaptic AMPA receptors (AMPA-Rs) (Zhu et al., 2005; Fu et al., 2007). Here we report that MINK and TNIK are postsynaptically enriched proteins whose clustering within dendrites is bi-directionally regulated by the activation state of Rap2. Expression of MINK and TNIK in neurons is required for normal dendritic arborization and surface expression of AMPA receptors. Overexpression of a truncated MINK mutant unable to interact with Rap2 leads to reduced dendritic branching and this MINK-mediated effect on neuronal morphology is dependent upon Rap2 activation. While similarly truncated TNIK also reduces neuronal complexity, its effect does not require Rap2 activity. Furthermore, Rap2-mediated removal of surface AMPA-Rs from spines is entirely abrogated by co-expression of MINK, but not TNIK. Thus, although both MINK and TNIK bind GTP-bound Rap2, these kinases employ distinct mechanisms to modulate Rap2-mediated signaling. MINK appears to antagonize Rap2 signal transduction by binding to activated Rap2. We suggest that MINK interaction with Rap2 plays a critical role in maintaining the morphological integrity of dendrites and synaptic transmission.
Rap2; TNIK; misshapen; Germinal Center Kinase; schizophrenia; Ste20
It has been suggested that gene expression and protein synthesis are required for both long-term memory consolidation and late phases of long-term potentiation and long-term depression (LTD). The necessary genes and the specific transcription factor binding sites in their promoters remain unknown. We found that inhibition of the transcription factor SRF or its cofactor MAL blocked the late phase of LTD in mouse cultured cerebellar Purkinje cells, as did deletion of the immediate early gene Arc. Using neuronal bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transfection, we found that, in Arc−/− cells transfected with a wild-type Arc BAC, late-phase LTD was rescued. However, mutation of one SRF-binding site in the Arc promoter (SRE 6.9) blocked this rescue. Co-transfection of wild-type Arc and SRF engineered to bind mutated SRE 6.9 restored late-phase LTD in Arc−/−, SRE 6.9 mutant BAC cells. Thus, SRF binding to SRE 6.9 in the Arc promoter is required for the late phase of cerebellar LTD.
Protein interacting with C Kinase 1 (PICK1), a PDZ domain-containing scaffolding protein, interacts with multiple different proteins in the mammalian nervous system and is believed to play important roles in diverse physiological and pathological conditions. In this study, we report that PICK1 is expressed in neurons of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord dorsal horn, two major pain-related regions. PICK1 was present in approximately 29.7% of DRG neurons, most of which were small-less than 750 μm2 in cross-sectional area. Some of these PICK1-positive cells co-labeled with isolectin B4 or calcitonin-gene-related peptide. In the dorsal horn, PICK1 immunoreactivity was concentrated in the superficial dorsal horn, where it was prominent in the postsynaptic density, axons, and dendrites. Targeted disruption of PICK1 gene did not affect basal paw withdrawal responses to acute noxious thermal and mechanical stimuli or locomotor reflex activity, but it completely blocked the induction of peripheral nerve injury-induced mechanical and thermal pain hypersensitivities. PICK1 appears to be required for peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain development and to be a potential biochemical target for treating this disorder.
The majority of excitatory synapses in the mammalian CNS are formed on dendritic spines1, and spine morphology and distribution are critical for synaptic transmission2–6, synaptic integration and plasticity7. Here, we show that a secreted semaphorin, Sema3F, is a negative regulator of spine development and synaptic structure. Mice with null mutations in genes encoding Sema3F, and its holoreceptor components neuropilin-2 (Npn-2) and plexinA3 (PlexA3), exhibit increased dentate gyrus (DG) granule cell (GC) and cortical layer V pyramidal neuron spine number and size, and also aberrant spine distribution. Moreover, Sema3F promotes loss of spines and excitatory synapses in dissociated neurons in vitro, and in Npn-2−/− brain slices cortical layer V and DG GCs exhibit increased mEPSC frequency. In contrast, a distinct Sema3A–Npn-1/PlexA4 signaling cascade controls basal dendritic arborization in layer V cortical neurons but does not influence spine morphogenesis or distribution. These disparate effects of secreted semaphorins are reflected in the restricted dendritic localization of Npn-2 to apical dendrites and of Npn-1 to all dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons. Therefore, Sema3F signaling controls spine distribution along select dendritic processes, and distinct secreted semaphorin signaling events orchestrate CNS connectivity through the differential control of spine morphogenesis, synapse formation, and the elaboration of dendritic morphology.
Modification of NMDA receptor function and trafficking contributes to the regulation of synaptic transmission and is important for several forms of synaptic plasticity. Here, we report that NMDA receptor subunits NR2A and NR2B have two distinct clusters of palmitoylation sites in their C-terminal region. Palmitoylation within the first cluster on a membrane proximal region increases tyrosine phosphorylation of tyrosine-based internalization motifs by Src family protein tyrosine kinases, leading to enhanced stable surface expression of NMDA receptors. In addition, palmitoylation of these sites regulates constitutive internalization of the NMDA receptor in developing neurons. In marked contrast, palmitoylation of the second cluster in the middle of C-terminus by distinct palmitoyl transferases causes receptors to accumulate in the Golgi apparatus and reduces receptor surface expression. These data suggest that regulated palmitoylation of NR2 subunits differentially modulate receptor trafficking and may be important for NMDA receptor dependent synaptic plasticity.
Protein kinase A (PKA) plays multiple roles in neurons. The localization and specificity of PKA are largely controlled by A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). However, the dynamics of PKA in neurons, and the roles of specific AKAPs, are poorly understood. We imaged the distribution of type II PKA in hippocampal and cortical layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in vitro and in vivo. PKA was concentrated in dendritic shafts compared to the soma, axons and dendritic spines. This spatial distribution was imposed by the microtubule-binding protein MAP2, indicating that MAP2 is the dominant AKAP in neurons. Following cAMP elevation, catalytic subunits dissociated from the MAP2-tethered regulatory subunits and rapidly moved to become enriched in nearby spines. The spatial gradient of type II PKA between dendritic shafts and spines was critical for the regulation of synaptic strength and long-term potentiation. The localization and activity-dependent translocation of type II PKA are therefore important determinants of PKA function.
Absence epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes a recurrent loss of consciousness and generalized spike-and-wave discharges on an electroencephalogram (EEG). The role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and associated scaffolding proteins in absence epilepsy has been unclear to date. We investigated a possible role for these proteins in absence epilepsy, focusing on the mGluR7a receptor and its PDZ-interacting protein, protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1), in rats and mice. Injection of a cell-permeant dominant-negative peptide or targeted mutation of the mGluR7a C terminus, both of which disrupt the interaction between the receptor and PDZ proteins, caused behavioral symptoms and EEG discharges that are characteristic of absence epilepsy. Inactivation of the Pick1 gene also facilitated pharmacological induction of the absence epilepsy phenotype. The cortex and thalamus, which are known to participate in absence epilepsy, were involved, but the hippocampus was not. Our results indicate that disruption of the mGluR7a-PICK1 complex is sufficient to induce absence epilepsy—like seizures in rats and mice, thus providing, to the best of our knowledge, the first animal model of metabotropic glutamate receptor—PDZ protein interaction in absence epilepsy.
Near coincidental pre- and postsynaptic action potentials induce associative long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD), depending on the order of their timing. Here, we show that in visual cortex the rules of this spike-timing-dependent plasticity are not rigid, but shaped by neuromodulator receptors coupled to adenylyl cyclase (AC) and phospholipase C (PLC) signaling cascades. Activation of the AC and PLC cascades results in phosphorylation of postsynaptic glutamate receptors at sites that serve as specific “tags” for LTP and LTD. As a consequence, the outcome (i.e., whether LTP or LTD) of a given pattern of pre- and postsynaptic firing depends not only on the order of the timing, but also on the relative activation of neuromodulator receptors coupled to AC and PLC. These findings indicate that cholinergic and adrenergic neuromodulation associated with the behavioral state of the animal can control the gating and the polarity of cortical plasticity.