Axonal ?7 nicotinic ACh receptors modulate presynaptic NMDA receptor expression and structural plasticity of glutamatergic presynaptic boutons.
ABSTRACT: In association with NMDA receptors (NMDARs), neuronal ?7 nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChRs) have been implicated in neuronal plasticity as well as neurodevelopmental, neurological, and psychiatric disorders. However, the role of presynaptic NMDARs and their interaction with ?7 nAChRs in these physiological and pathophysiological events remains unknown. Here we report that axonal ?7 nAChRs modulate presynaptic NMDAR expression and structural plasticity of glutamatergic presynaptic boutons during early synaptic development. Chronic inactivation of ?7 nAChRs markedly increased cell surface NMDAR expression as well as the number and size of glutamatergic axonal varicosities in cortical cultures. These boutons contained presynaptic NMDARs and ?7 nAChRs, and recordings from outside-out pulled patches of enlarged presynaptic boutons identified functional NMDAR-mediated currents. Multiphoton imaging of presynaptic NMDAR-mediated calcium transients demonstrated significantly larger responses in these enlarged boutons, suggesting enhanced presynaptic NMDAR function that could lead to increased glutamate release. Moreover, whole-cell patch clamp showed a significant increase in synaptic charge mediated by NMDAR miniature EPSCs but no alteration in the frequency of AMPAR miniature EPSCs, suggesting the selective enhancement of postsynaptically silent synapses upon inactivation of ?7 nAChRs. Taken together, these findings indicate that axonal ?7 nAChRs modulate presynaptic NMDAR expression and presynaptic and postsynaptic maturation of glutamatergic synapses, and implicate presynaptic ?7 nAChR/NMDAR interactions in synaptic development and plasticity.
Project description:Opioids are the most effective analgesics for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, chronic opioid treatment can cause both hyperalgesia and analgesic tolerance, which limit their clinical efficacy. In this study, we determined the role of pre- and postsynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) in controlling increased glutamatergic input in the spinal cord induced by chronic systemic morphine administration. Whole-cell voltage clamp recordings of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were performed on dorsal horn neurons in rat spinal cord slices. Chronic morphine significantly increased the amplitude of monosynaptic EPSCs evoked from the dorsal root and the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs, and these changes were largely attenuated by blocking NMDARs and by inhibiting PKC, but not PKA. Also, blocking NR2A- or NR2B-containing NMDARs significantly reduced the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs and the amplitude of evoked EPSCs in morphine-treated rats. Strikingly, morphine treatment largely decreased the amplitude of evoked NMDAR-EPSCs and NMDAR currents of dorsal horn neurons elicited by puff NMDA application. The reduction in postsynaptic NMDAR currents caused by morphine was prevented by resiniferatoxin pretreatment to ablate TRPV1-expressing primary afferents. Furthermore, intrathecal injection of the NMDAR antagonist significantly attenuated the development of analgesic tolerance and the reduction in nociceptive thresholds induced by chronic morphine. Collectively, our findings indicate that chronic opioid treatment potentiates presynaptic, but impairs postsynaptic, NMDAR activity in the spinal cord. PKC-mediated increases in NMDAR activity at nociceptive primary afferent terminals in the spinal cord contribute critically to the development of opioid hyperalgesia and analgesic tolerance.
Project description:Activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDARs) in postsynaptic dendrites is required for long-term potentiation (LTP) of many excitatory synapses, but the role of presynaptic axonal NMDARs in synaptic plasticity remains to be clarified. Here we report that axonal NMDARs play an essential role in LTP induction at mouse corticostriatal synapses by triggering activity-induced presynaptic secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Genetic depletion of either BDNF or the NMDAR subunit GluN1 specifically in cortical axons abolished corticostriatal LTP in response to theta burst stimulation (TBS). Furthermore, functional axonal NMDARs were required for TBS-triggered prolonged axonal Ca(2+) elevation and BDNF secretion, supporting the notion that activation of axonal NMDARs induces BDNF secretion via enhancing Ca(2+) signals in the presynaptic nerve terminals. These results demonstrate that presynaptic NMDARs are equally important as postsynaptic NMDARs in LTP induction of corticostriatal synapses due to their role in mediating activity-induced presynaptic BDNF secretion.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) play diverse roles in synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, neuronal development and neurological diseases. In addition to their postsynaptic expression, NMDARs are also expressed in presynaptic terminals at some central synapses, and their activation modulates transmitter release. However, the regulatory mechanisms of NMDAR-dependent synaptic transmission remain largely unknown. In the present study, we demonstrated that activation of NMDARs in a nerve terminal at a central glutamatergic synapse inhibits presynaptic Ca2+ currents (ICa) in a GluN2C/2D subunit-dependent manner, thereby decreasing nerve-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents. Neither presynaptically loaded fast Ca2+ chelator BAPTA nor non-hydrolysable GTP analogue GTP?S affected NMDAR-mediated ICa inhibition. In the presence of a glutamate uptake blocker, the decline in ICa amplitude evoked by repetitive depolarizing pulses at 20 Hz was attenuated by an NMDAR competitive antagonist, suggesting that endogenous glutamate has a potential to activate presynaptic NMDARs. Moreover, NMDA-induced inward currents at a negative holding potential (-80 mV) were abolished by intra-terminal loading of the NMDAR open channel blocker MK-801, indicating functional expression of presynaptic NMDARs. We conclude that presynaptic NMDARs can attenuate glutamate release by inhibiting voltage-gated Ca2+ channels at a relay synapse in the immature rat auditory brainstem.
Project description:The addition and removal of presynaptic terminals reconfigures neuronal circuits of the mammalian neocortex, but little is known about how this presynaptic structural plasticity is controlled. Since mitochondria can regulate presynaptic function, we investigated whether the presence of axonal mitochondria relates to the structural plasticity of presynaptic boutons in mouse neocortex. We found that the overall density of axonal mitochondria did not appear to influence the loss and gain of boutons. However, positioning of mitochondria at individual presynaptic sites did relate to increased stability of those boutons. In line with this, synaptic localization of mitochondria increased as boutons aged and showed differing patterns of localization at <i>en passant</i> and <i>terminaux</i> boutons. These results suggest that mitochondria accumulate locally at boutons over time to increase bouton stability.
Project description:NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation can alter synaptic strength by regulating transmitter release from a variety of neurons in the CNS. As NMDARs are permeable to Ca(2+) and monovalent cations, they could alter release directly by increasing presynaptic Ca(2+) or indirectly by axonal depolarization sufficient to activate voltage-sensitive Ca(2+) channels (VSCCs). Using two-photon microscopy to measure Ca(2+) excursions, we found that somatic depolarization or focal activation of dendritic NMDARs elicited small Ca(2+) transients in axon varicosities of cerebellar stellate cell interneurons. These axonal transients resulted from Ca(2+) entry through VSCCs that were opened by the electrotonic spread of the NMDAR-mediated depolarization elicited in the dendrites. In contrast, we were unable to detect direct activation of NMDARs on axons, indicating an exclusive somatodendritic expression of functional NMDARs. In cerebellar stellate cells, dendritic NMDAR activation masquerades as a presynaptic phenomenon and may influence Ca(2+) -dependent forms of presynaptic plasticity and release.
Project description:During cortical development, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NMDARs) facilitate presynaptic terminal formation, enhance neurotransmitter release and are required in presynaptic neurons for spike-timing-dependent long-term depression (tLTD). However, the extent to which NMDARs are found within cortical presynaptic terminals has remained controversial, and the sub-synaptic localization and dynamics of axonal NMDARs are unknown. Here, using live confocal imaging and biochemical purification of presynaptic membranes, we provide strong evidence that NMDARs localize to presynaptic terminals in vitro and in vivo in a developmentally regulated manner. The NR1 and NR2B subunits (also known as GRIN1 and GRIN2B, respectively) were found within the active zone membrane, where they could respond to synaptic glutamate release. Surprisingly, NR1 also appeared in glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic vesicles. During synaptogenesis, NR1 was mobile throughout axons - including growth cones and filopodia, structures that are involved in synaptogenesis. Upon synaptogenic contact, NMDA receptors were quickly recruited to terminals by neuroligin-1 signaling. Unlike dendrites, the trafficking and distribution of axonal NR1 were insensitive to activity changes, including NMDA exposure, local glutamate uncaging or action potential blockade. These results support the idea that presynaptic NMDARs play an early role in presynaptic development.
Project description:Sensory experience can selectively alter excitatory synaptic strength at neocortical synapses. The rapid increase in synaptic strength induced by selective whisker stimulation (single-row experience/SRE, where all but one row of whiskers has been removed from the mouse face) is due, at least in part, to the trafficking of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) to the post-synaptic membrane, and is developmentally regulated. How enhanced sensory experience can alter presynaptic release properties in the developing neocortex has not been investigated. Using paired-pulse stimulation at layer 4-2/3 synapses in acute brain slices, we found that presynaptic release probability progressively increases in the spared-whisker barrel column over the first 24 h of SRE. Enhanced release probability can be at least partly attributed to presynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs). We find that the influence of presynaptic NMDARs in enhancing EPSC amplitude markedly increases during SRE. This occurs at the same time when recently potentiated synapses become highly susceptible to a NMDAR-dependent form of synaptic depression, during the labile phase of plasticity. Thus, these data show that augmented sensory stimulation can enhance release probability at layer 4-2/3 synapses and enhance the function of presynaptic NMDARs. Because presynaptic NMDARs have been linked to synaptic depression at layer 4-2/3 synapses, we propose that SRE-dependent up-regulation of presynaptic NMDARs is responsible for enhanced synaptic depression during the labile stage of plasticity.
Project description:One of the most notable characteristics of synaptic transmission is the wide variation in synaptic strength in response to identical stimulation. In hippocampal neurons, approximately one-third of axonal mitochondria are highly motile, and some dynamically pass through presynaptic boutons. This raises a fundamental question: can motile mitochondria contribute to the pulse-to-pulse variability of presynaptic strength? Recently, we identified syntaphilin as an axonal mitochondrial-docking protein. Using hippocampal neurons and slices of syntaphilin knockout mice, we demonstrate that the motility of axonal mitochondria correlates with presynaptic variability. Enhancing mitochondrial motility increases the pulse-to-pulse variability, whereas immobilizing mitochondria reduces the variability. By dual-color live imaging at single-bouton levels, we further show that motile mitochondria passing through boutons dynamically influence synaptic vesicle release, mainly by altering ATP homeostasis in axons. Thus, our study provides insight into the fundamental properties of the CNS to ensure the plasticity and reliability of synaptic transmission.
Project description:Glutamatergic retinal waves, the spontaneous patterned neural activities propagating among developing retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), instruct the activity-dependent refinement of visuotopic maps. However, its initiation and underlying mechanism remain largely elusive. Here using larval zebrafish and multiple in vivo approaches, we discover that bipolar cells (BCs) are responsible for the generation of glutamatergic retinal waves. The wave originates from BC axon terminals (ATs) and propagates laterally to nearby BCs and vertically to downstream RGCs and the optic tectum. Its initiation is triggered by the activation of and consequent glutamate release from BC ATs, and is mediated by the N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDARs) expressed at these ATs. Intercellular asymmetry of NMDAR expression at BC ATs enables the preferential initiation of waves at the temporal retina, where BC ATs express more NMDARs. Thus, our findings indicate that glutamatergic retinal waves are initiated by BCs through a presynaptic NMDA autoreceptor-dependent process.
Project description:Critical periods of synaptic plasticity facilitate the reordering and refining of neural connections during development, allowing the definitive synaptic circuits responsible for correct adult physiology to be established. Presynaptic spike timing-dependent long-term depression (t-LTD) exists in the hippocampus, which depends on the activation of NMDARs and that probably fulfills a role in synaptic refinement. This t-LTD is present until the third postnatal week in mice, disappearing in the fourth week of postnatal development. We were interested in the mechanisms underlying this maturation related loss of t-LTD and we found that at CA3-CA1 synapses, presynaptic NMDA receptors (pre-NMDARs) are tonically active between P13 and P21, mediating an increase in glutamate release during this critical period of plasticity. Conversely, at the end of this critical period (P22-P30) and coinciding with the loss of t-LTD, these pre-NMDARs are no longer tonically active. Using immunogold electron microscopy, we demonstrated the existence of pre-NMDARs at Schaffer collateral synaptic boutons, where a decrease in the number of pre-NMDARs during development coincides with the loss of both tonic pre-NMDAR activation and t-LTD. Interestingly, this t-LTD can be completely recovered by antagonizing adenosine type 1 receptors (A1R), which also recovers the tonic activation of pre-NMDARs at P22-P30. By contrast, the induction of t-LTD was prevented at P13-P21 by an agonist of A1R, as was tonic pre-NMDAR activation. Furthermore, we found that the adenosine that mediated the loss of t-LTD during the fourth week of development is supplied by astrocytes. These results provide direct evidence for the mechanism that closes the window of plasticity associated with t-LTD, revealing novel events probably involved in synaptic remodeling during development.