Neurotransmission plays contrasting roles in the maturation of inhibitory synapses on axons and dendrites of retinal bipolar cells.
ABSTRACT: Neuronal output is modulated by inhibition onto both dendrites and axons. It is unknown whether inhibitory synapses at these two cellular compartments of an individual neuron are regulated coordinately or separately during in vivo development. Because neurotransmission influences synapse maturation and circuit development, we determined how loss of inhibition affects the expression of diverse types of inhibitory receptors on the axon and dendrites of mouse retinal bipolar cells. We found that axonal GABA but not glycine receptor expression depends on neurotransmission. Importantly, axonal and dendritic GABAA receptors comprise distinct subunit compositions that are regulated differentially by GABA release: Axonal GABAA receptors are down-regulated but dendritic receptors are up-regulated in the absence of inhibition. The homeostatic increase in GABAA receptors on bipolar cell dendrites is pathway-specific: Cone but not rod bipolar cell dendrites maintain an up-regulation of receptors in the transmission deficient mutants. Furthermore, the bipolar cell GABAA receptor alterations are a consequence of impaired vesicular GABA release from amacrine but not horizontal interneurons. Thus, inhibitory neurotransmission regulates in vivo postsynaptic maturation of inhibitory synapses with contrasting modes of action specific to synapse type and location.
Project description:Presynaptic inhibition onto axons regulates neuronal output, but how such inhibitory synapses develop and are maintained in vivo remains unclear. Axon terminals of glutamatergic retinal rod bipolar cells (RBCs) receive GABAA and GABAC receptor-mediated synaptic inhibition. We found that perturbing GABAergic or glutamatergic neurotransmission does not prevent GABAergic synaptogenesis onto RBC axons. But, GABA release is necessary for maintaining axonal GABA receptors. This activity-dependent process is receptor subtype specific: GABAC receptors are maintained, whereas GABAA receptors containing ?1, but not ?3, subunits decrease over time in mice with deficient GABA synthesis. GABAA receptor distribution on RBC axons is unaffected in GABAC receptor knockout mice. Thus, GABAA and GABAC receptor maintenance are regulated separately. Although immature RBCs elevate their glutamate release when GABA synthesis is impaired, homeostatic mechanisms ensure that the RBC output operates within its normal range after eye opening, perhaps to regain proper visual processing within the scotopic pathway.
Project description:Synaptic inhibition controls a neuron's output via functionally distinct inputs at two subcellular compartments, the cell body and the dendrites. It is unclear whether the assembly of these distinct inhibitory inputs can be regulated independently by neurotransmission. In the mammalian retina, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release from starburst amacrine cells (SACs) onto the dendrites of on-off direction-selective ganglion cells (ooDSGCs) is essential for directionally selective responses. We found that ooDSGCs also receive GABAergic input on their somata from other amacrine cells (ACs), including ACs containing the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). When net GABAergic transmission is reduced, somatic, but not dendritic, GABAA receptor clusters on the ooDSGC increased in number and size. Correlative fluorescence imaging and serial electron microscopy revealed that these enlarged somatic receptor clusters are localized to synapses. By contrast, selectively blocking vesicular GABA release from either SACs or VIP ACs did not alter dendritic or somatic receptor distributions on the ooDSGCs, showing that neither SAC nor VIP AC GABA release alone is required for the development of inhibitory synapses in ooDSGCs. Furthermore, a reduction in net GABAergic transmission, but not a selective reduction from SACs, increased excitatory drive onto ooDSGCs. This increased excitation may drive a homeostatic increase in ooDSGC somatic GABAA receptors. Differential regulation of GABAA receptors on the ooDSGC's soma and dendrites could facilitate homeostatic control of the ooDSGC's output while enabling the assembly of the GABAergic connectivity underlying direction selectivity to be indifferent to altered transmission.
Project description:Certain bipolar cells in most species immunostain for GABA or its synthesizing enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase. However, it is unknown whether they actually release GABA and, if so, from which cellular compartment and by what release mechanism. We investigated these questions in monkey retina where rod bipolar cells immunostain for GABA. We found that rod bipolar cells immunostain for one isoform of GAD (GAD65) in their somas, dendrites and axon terminals. Near the fovea, the somatic stain of rod bipolar cells is weaker than that of horizontal cells but, at the periphery, it is stronger. Staining for the vesicular GABA transporter in monkey rod bipolar cells is negative. However, staining for the GABA transporter GAT3 is positive in the soma and primary dendrites (but not in the axon terminals). Staining for GAT3 is also positive in horizontal cells. Double staining of rod bipolar cells and the alpha subunit of the GABAA receptor reveals scarce GABAA puncta that appose rod bipolar dendrites. We conclude that monkey rod bipolar cells use GABA and discuss the possibility that they tonically release GABA from their dendrites using a reverse action of GAT3.
Project description:GABAA receptors distributed in somatodendritic compartments play critical roles in regulating neuronal activities, including spike timing and firing pattern; however, the properties and functions of GABAA receptors at the axon are still poorly understood. By recording from the cut end (bleb) of the main axon trunk of layer -5 pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortical slices, we found that currents evoked by GABA iontophoresis could be blocked by picrotoxin, indicating the expression of GABAA receptors in axons. Stationary noise analysis revealed that single-channel properties of axonal GABAA receptors were similar to those of somatic receptors. Perforated patch recording with gramicidin revealed that the reversal potential of the GABA response was more negative than the resting membrane potential at the axon trunk, suggesting that GABA may hyperpolarize the axonal membrane potential. Further experiments demonstrated that the activation of axonal GABAA receptors regulated the amplitude and duration of action potentials (APs) and decreased the AP-induced Ca2+ transients at the axon. Together, our results indicate that the waveform of axonal APs and the downstream Ca2+ signals are modulated by axonal GABAA receptors.
Project description:?-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, early in postnatal life exerts a depolarizing and excitatory action. This depends on accumulation of chloride inside the cell via the cation-chloride importer NKCC1, being the expression of the chloride exporter KCC2 very low at birth. The developmentally regulated expression of KCC2 results in extrusion of chloride with age and a shift of GABA from the depolarizing to the hyperpolarizing direction. The depolarizing action of GABA leads to intracellular calcium rise through voltage-dependent calcium channels and/or N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors. GABA-mediated calcium signals regulate a variety of developmental processes from cell proliferation migration, differentiation, synapse maturation, and neuronal wiring. Therefore, it is not surprising that some forms of neuro-developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are associated with alterations of GABAergic signaling and impairment of the excitatory/inhibitory balance in selective neuronal circuits. In this review, we will discuss how changes of GABAA-mediated neurotransmission affect several forms of ASDs including the Fragile X, the Angelman, and Rett syndromes. Then, we will describe various animal models of ASDs with GABAergic dysfunctions, highlighting their behavioral deficits and the possibility to rescue them by targeting selective components of the GABAergic synapse. In particular, we will discuss how in some cases, reverting the polarity of GABA responses from the depolarizing to the hyperpolarizing direction with the diuretic bumetanide, a selective blocker of NKCC1, may have beneficial effects on ASDs, thus opening new therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of these devastating disorders.
Project description:GABAA receptors mediate the majority of inhibitory neurotransmission in the CNS. Genetic deletion of the alpha1 subunit of GABAA receptors results in a loss of alpha1-mediated fast inhibitory currents and a marked reduction in density of GABAA receptors. A grossly normal phenotype of alpha1-deficient mice suggests the presence of neuronal adaptation to these drastic changes at the GABA synapse. We used cDNA microarrays to identify transcriptional fingerprints of cellular plasticity in response to altered GABAergic inhibition in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of alpha1 mutants. In silico analysis of 982 mutation-regulated transcripts highlighted genes and functional groups involved in regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission, suggesting an adaptive response of the brain to an altered inhibitory tone. Public gene expression databases permitted identification of subsets of transcripts enriched in excitatory and inhibitory neurons as well as some glial cells, providing evidence for cellular plasticity in individual cell types. Additional analysis linked some transcriptional changes to cellular phenotypes observed in the knock-out mice and suggested several genes, such as the early growth response 1 (Egr1), small GTP binding protein Rac1 (Rac1), neurogranin (Nrgn), sodium channel beta4 subunit (Scn4b), and potassium voltage-gated Kv4.2 channel (Kcnd2) as cell type-specific markers of neuronal plasticity. Furthermore, transcriptional activation of genes enriched in Bergman glia suggests an active role of these astrocytes in synaptic plasticity. Overall, our results suggest that the loss of alpha1-mediated fast inhibition produces diverse transcriptional responses that act to regulate neuronal excitability of individual neurons and stabilize neuronal networks, which may account for the lack of severe abnormalities in alpha1 null mutants.
Project description:Optogenetics has become an emerging technique for neuroscience investigations owing to the great spatiotemporal precision and the target selectivity it provides. Here we extend the optogenetic strategy to GABAA receptors (GABAARs), the major mediators of inhibitory neurotransmission in the brain. We generated a light-regulated GABAA receptor (LiGABAR) by conjugating a photoswitchable tethered ligand (PTL) onto a mutant receptor containing the cysteine-substituted ?1-subunit. The installed PTL can be advanced to or retracted from the GABA-binding pocket with 500 and 380 nm light, respectively, resulting in photoswitchable receptor antagonism. In hippocampal neurons, this LiGABAR enabled a robust photoregulation of inhibitory postsynaptic currents. Moreover, it allowed reversible photocontrol over neuron excitation in response to presynaptic stimulation. LiGABAR thus provides a powerful means for functional and mechanistic investigations of GABAAR-mediated neural inhibition.
Project description:Cognitive impairment (CI), a debilitating and pervasive feature of multiple sclerosis (MS), is correlated with hippocampal atrophy. Findings from postmortem MS hippocampi indicate that expression of genes involved in both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission are altered in MS, and although deficits in excitatory neurotransmission have been reported in the MS model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the functional consequence of altered inhibitory neurotransmission remains poorly understood. In this study, we used electrophysiological and biochemical techniques to examine inhibitory neurotransmission in the CA1 region of the hippocampus in EAE. We find that tonic, GABAergic inhibition is enhanced in CA1 pyramidal cells from EAE mice. Although plasma membrane expression of the GABA transporter GAT-3 was decreased in the EAE hippocampus, an increased surface expression of ?5 subunit-containing GABAA receptors appears to be primarily responsible for the increase in tonic inhibition during EAE. Enhanced tonic inhibition during EAE was associated with decreased CA1 pyramidal cell excitability and inhibition of ?5 subunit-containing GABAA receptors with the negative allosteric modulator L-655,708 enhanced pyramidal cell excitability in EAE mice. Together, our results suggest that altered GABAergic neurotransmission may underlie deficits in hippocampus-dependent cognitive function in EAE and MS.
Project description:Fast inhibitory neurotransmission in the mammalian nervous system is largely mediated by GABAA receptors, chloride-selective members of the superfamily of pentameric Cys-loop receptors. Native GABAA receptors are heteromeric assemblies sensitive to many important drugs, from sedatives to anesthetics and anticonvulsant agents, with mutant forms of GABAA receptors implicated in multiple neurological diseases. Despite the profound importance of heteromeric GABAA receptors in neuroscience and medicine, they have proven recalcitrant to structure determination. Here we present the structure of a tri-heteromeric ?1?1?2SEM GABAA receptor in complex with GABA, determined by single particle cryo-EM at 3.1-3.8 Å resolution, elucidating molecular principles of receptor assembly and agonist binding. Remarkable N-linked glycosylation on the ?1 subunit occludes the extracellular vestibule of the ion channel and is poised to modulate receptor assembly and perhaps ion channel gating. Our work provides a pathway to structural studies of heteromeric GABAA receptors and a framework for rational design of novel therapeutic agents.
Project description:Increasing evidence indicates that guidance molecules used during development for cellular and axonal navigation also play roles in synapse maturation and homeostasis. In C. elegans the netrin receptor UNC-40/DCC controls the growth of dendritic-like muscle cell extensions towards motoneurons and is required to recruit type A GABA receptors (GABAARs) at inhibitory neuromuscular junctions. Here we show that activation of UNC-40 assembles an intracellular synaptic scaffold by physically interacting with FRM-3, a FERM protein orthologous to FARP1/2. FRM-3 then recruits LIN-2, the ortholog of CASK, that binds the synaptic adhesion molecule NLG-1/Neuroligin and physically connects GABAARs to prepositioned NLG-1 clusters. These processes are orchestrated by the synaptic organizer CePunctin/MADD-4, which controls the localization of GABAARs by positioning NLG-1/neuroligin at synapses and regulates the synaptic content of GABAARs through the UNC-40-dependent intracellular scaffold. Since DCC is detected at GABA synapses in mammals, DCC might also tune inhibitory neurotransmission in the mammalian brain.