Fragile X protein FMRP is required for homeostatic plasticity and regulation of synaptic strength by retinoic acid.
ABSTRACT: Homeostatic synaptic plasticity adjusts the strength of synapses during global changes in neural activity, thereby stabilizing the overall activity of neural networks. Suppression of synaptic activity increases synaptic strength by inducing synthesis of retinoic acid (RA), which activates postsynaptic synthesis of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) in dendrites and promotes synaptic insertion of newly synthesized AMPARs. Here, we show that fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), an RNA-binding protein that regulates dendritic protein synthesis, is essential for increases in synaptic strength induced by RA or by blockade of neural activity in the mouse hippocampus. Although activity-dependent RA synthesis is maintained in Fmr1 knock-out neurons, RA-dependent dendritic translation of GluR1-type AMPA receptors is impaired. Intriguingly, FMRP is only required for the form of homeostatic plasticity that is dependent on both RA signaling and local protein synthesis. Postsynaptic expression of wild-type or mutant FMRP(I304N) in knock-out neurons reduced the total, surface, and synaptic levels of AMPARs, implying a role for FMRP in regulating AMPAR abundance. Expression of FMRP lacking the RGG box RNA-binding domain had no effect on AMPAR levels. Importantly, postsynaptic expression of wild-type FMRP, but not FMRP(I304N) or FMRP?RGG, restored synaptic scaling when expressed in knock-out neurons. Together, these findings identify an unanticipated role for FMRP in regulating homeostatic synaptic plasticity downstream of RA. Our results raise the possibility that at least some of the symptoms of fragile X syndrome reflect impaired homeostatic plasticity and impaired RA signaling.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA)-dependent homeostatic plasticity and NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of Hebbian plasticity, both enhance synaptic strength by increasing the abundance of postsynaptic AMPA receptors (AMPARs). However, it is unclear whether the molecular mechanisms mediating AMPAR trafficking during homeostatic and Hebbian plasticity differ, and it is unknown how RA signaling impacts Hebbian plasticity. Here, we show that RA increases postsynaptic AMPAR abundance using an activity-dependent mechanism that requires a unique SNARE (soluble NSF-attachment protein receptor)-dependent fusion machinery different from that mediating LTP. Specifically, RA-induced AMPAR trafficking did not involve complexin, which activates SNARE complexes containing syntaxin-1 or -3, but not complexes containing syntaxin-4, whereas LTP required complexin. Moreover, RA-induced AMPAR trafficking utilized the Q-SNARE syntaxin-4, whereas LTP utilized syntaxin-3; both additionally required the Q-SNARE SNAP-47 and the R-SNARE synatobrevin-2. Finally, acute RA treatment blocked subsequent LTP expression, probably by increasing AMPAR trafficking. Thus, RA-induced homeostatic plasticity involves a novel, activity-dependent postsynaptic AMPAR-trafficking pathway mediated by a unique SNARE-dependent fusion machinery.
Project description:Homeostatic synaptic plasticity is a compensatory response to alterations in neuronal activity. Chronic deprivation of neuronal activity results in an increase in synaptic AMPA receptors (AMPARs) and postsynaptic currents. The biogenesis of GluA2-lacking, calcium-permeable AMPARs (CP-AMPARs) plays a crucial role in the homeostatic response; however, the mechanisms leading to CP-AMPAR formation remain unclear. Here we show that the microRNA, miR124, is required for the generation of CP-AMPARs and homeostatic plasticity. miR124 suppresses GluA2 expression via targeting its 3'-UTR, leading to the formation of CP-AMPARs. Blockade of miR124 function abolishes the homeostatic response, whereas miR124 overexpression leads to earlier induction of homeostatic plasticity. miR124 transcription is controlled by an inhibitory transcription factor EVI1, acting by association with the deacetylase HDAC1. Our data support a cellular cascade in which inactivity relieves EVI1/HDAC-mediated inhibition of miR124 gene transcription, resulting in enhanced miR124 expression, formation of CP-AMPARs and subsequent induction of homeostatic synaptic plasticity.
Project description:Homeostatic synaptic plasticity is important for maintaining stability of neuronal function, but heterogeneous expression mechanisms suggest that distinct facets of neuronal activity may shape the manner in which compensatory synaptic changes are implemented. Here, we demonstrate that local presynaptic activity gates a retrograde form of homeostatic plasticity induced by blockade of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) in cultured hippocampal neurons. We show that AMPAR blockade produces rapid (<3 hr) protein synthesis-dependent increases in both presynaptic and postsynaptic function and that the induction of presynaptic, but not postsynaptic, changes requires coincident local activity in presynaptic terminals. This "state-dependent" modulation of presynaptic function requires postsynaptic release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a retrograde messenger, which is locally synthesized in dendrites in response to AMPAR blockade. Taken together, our results reveal a local crosstalk between active presynaptic terminals and postsynaptic signaling that dictates the manner by which homeostatic plasticity is implemented at synapses.
Project description:Normal brain function requires that the overall synaptic activity in neural circuits be kept constant. Long-term alterations of neural activity lead to homeostatic regulation of synaptic strength by a process known as synaptic scaling. The molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic scaling are largely unknown. Here, we report that all-trans retinoic acid (RA), a well-known developmental morphogen, unexpectedly mediates synaptic scaling in response to activity blockade. We show that activity blockade increases RA synthesis in neurons and that acute RA treatment enhances synaptic transmission. The RA-induced increase in synaptic strength is occluded by activity blockade-induced synaptic scaling. Suppression of RA synthesis prevents synaptic scaling. This form of RA signaling operates via a translation-dependent but transcription-independent mechanism, causes an upregulation of postsynaptic glutamate receptor levels, and requires RARalpha receptors. Together, our data suggest that RA functions in homeostatic plasticity as a signaling molecule that increases synaptic strength by a protein synthesis-dependent mechanism.
Project description:Homeostatic processes have been proposed to explain the discrepancy between the dynamics of synaptic plasticity and the stability of brain function. Forms of synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation alter synaptic activity in a synapse- and cell-specific fashion. Although network-wide excitation triggers compensatory homeostatic changes, it is unknown whether neurons initiate homeostatic synaptic changes in response to cell-autonomous increases in excitation. Here we employ optogenetic tools to cell-autonomously excite CA1 pyramidal neurons and find that a compensatory postsynaptic depression of both AMPAR and NMDAR function results. Elevated calcium influx through L-type calcium channels leads to activation of a pathway involving CaM kinase kinase and CaM kinase 4 that induces synaptic depression of AMPAR and NMDAR responses. The synaptic depression of AMPARs but not of NMDARs requires protein synthesis and the GluA2 AMPAR subunit, indicating that downstream of CaM kinase activation divergent pathways regulate homeostatic AMPAR and NMDAR depression.
Project description:The mental retardation, autistic features, and behavioral abnormalities characteristic of the Fragile X mental retardation syndrome result from the loss of function of the RNA-binding protein FMRP. The disease is usually caused by a triplet repeat expansion in the 5'UTR of the FMR1 gene. This leads to loss of function through transcriptional gene silencing, pointing to a key function for FMRP, but precluding genetic identification of critical activities within the protein. Moreover, antisense transcripts (FMR4, ASFMR1) in the same locus have been reported to be silenced by the repeat expansion. Missense mutations offer one means of confirming a central role for FMRP in the disease, but to date, only a single such patient has been described. This patient harbors an isoleucine to asparagine mutation (I304N) in the second FMRP KH-type RNA-binding domain, however, this single case report was complicated because the patient harbored a superimposed familial liver disease. To address these issues, we have generated a new Fragile X Syndrome mouse model in which the endogenous Fmr1 gene harbors the I304N mutation. These mice phenocopy the symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome in the existing Fmr1-null mouse, as assessed by testicular size, behavioral phenotyping, and electrophysiological assays of synaptic plasticity. I304N FMRP retains some functions, but has specifically lost RNA binding and polyribosome association; moreover, levels of the mutant protein are markedly reduced in the brain specifically at a time when synapses are forming postnatally. These data suggest that loss of FMRP function, particularly in KH2-mediated RNA binding and in synaptic plasticity, play critical roles in pathogenesis of the Fragile X Syndrome and establish a new model for studying the disorder.
Project description:Bidirectional synaptic plasticity occurs locally at individual synapses during long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD), or globally during homeostatic scaling. LTP, LTD, and homeostatic scaling alter synaptic strength through changes in postsynaptic AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs), suggesting the existence of overlapping molecular mechanisms. Phosphorylation controls AMPAR trafficking during LTP/LTD. We addressed the role of AMPAR phosphorylation during homeostatic scaling. We observed bidirectional changes of the levels of phosphorylated GluA1 S845 during scaling, resulting from a loss of protein kinase A (PKA) from synapses during scaling down and enhanced activity of PKA in synapses during scaling up. Increased phosphorylation of S845 drove scaling up, while a knockin mutation of S845, or knockdown of the scaffold AKAP5, blocked scaling up. Finally, we show that AMPARs scale differentially based on their phosphorylation status at S845. These results show that rearrangement in PKA signaling controls AMPAR phosphorylation and surface targeting during homeostatic plasticity.
Project description:At synapses, cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) provide the molecular framework for coordinating signaling events across the synaptic cleft. Among synaptic CAMs, the integrins, receptors for extracellular matrix proteins and counterreceptors on adjacent cells, are implicated in synapse maturation and plasticity and memory formation. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of integrin action at central synapses. Here, we report that postsynaptic beta3 integrins control synaptic strength by regulating AMPA receptors (AMPARs) in a subunit-specific manner. Pharmacological perturbation targeting beta3 integrins promotes endocytosis of GluR2-containing AMPARs via Rap1 signaling, and expression of beta3 integrins produces robust changes in the abundance and composition of synaptic AMPARs without affecting dendritic spine structure. Importantly, homeostatic synaptic scaling induced by activity deprivation elevates surface expression of beta3 integrins, and in turn, beta3 integrins are required for synaptic scaling. Our findings demonstrate a key role for integrins in the feedback regulation of excitatory synaptic strength.
Project description:Hebbian plasticity, comprised of long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD), allows neurons to encode and respond to specific stimuli; while homeostatic synaptic scaling is a counterbalancing mechanism that enables the maintenance of stable neural circuits. Both types of synaptic plasticity involve the control of postsynaptic ?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) abundance, which is modulated by AMPAR phosphorylation. To address the necessity of GluA2 phospho-Y876 in synaptic plasticity, we generated phospho-deficient GluA2 Y876F knock-in mice. We show that, while GluA2 phospho-Y876 is not necessary for Hebbian plasticity, it is essential for both in vivo and in vitro homeostatic upscaling. Bidirectional changes in GluA2 phospho-Y876 were observed during homeostatic scaling, with a decrease during downscaling and an increase during upscaling. GluA2 phospho-Y876 is necessary for synaptic accumulation of glutamate receptor interacting protein 1 (GRIP1), a crucial scaffold protein that delivers AMPARs to synapses, during upscaling. Furthermore, increased phosphorylation at GluA2 Y876 increases GluA2 binding to GRIP1. These results demonstrate that AMPAR trafficking during homeostatic upscaling can be gated by a single phosphorylation site on the GluA2 subunit.
Project description:Loss of the Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is associated with presumed postsynaptic deficits in mouse models of Fragile X syndrome. However, the possible presynaptic roles of FMRP in learning-related plasticity have received little attention. As a result, the mechanisms whereby FMRP influences synaptic function remain poorly understood. To investigate the cellular locus of the effects of FMRP on synaptic plasticity, we cloned the Aplysia homolog of FMRP and find it to be highly expressed in neurons. By selectively down-regulating FMRP in individual Aplysia neurons at the sensory-to-motor neuron synapse reconstituted in co-cultures, we demonstrate that FMRP functions both pre- and postsynaptically to constrain the expression of long-term synaptic depression induced by repeated pulses of FMRF-amide. In contrast, FMRP has little to no effect on long-term synaptic facilitation induced by repeated pulses of serotonin. Since other components of signaling pathways involved in plasticity appear to be conserved between Aplysia and mammalian neurons, our findings suggest that FMRP can participate in both pre- and postsynaptic regulation of enduring synaptic plasticity that underlies the storage of certain types of long-term memory.