Olfactory experiences dynamically regulate plasticity of dendritic spines in granule cells of Xenopus tadpoles in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Granule cells, rich in dendrites with densely punctated dendritic spines, are the most abundant inhibitory interneurons in the olfactory bulb. The dendritic spines of granule cells undergo remodeling during the development of the nervous system. The morphological plasticity of the spines' response to different olfactory experiences in vivo is not fully known. In initial studies, a single granule cell in Xenopus tadpoles was labeled with GFP plasmids via cell electroporation; then, morphologic changes of the granule cell spines were visualized by in vivo confocal time-lapse imaging. With the help of long-term imaging, the total spine density, dynamics, and stability of four types of dendritic spines (mushroom, stubby, thin and filopodia) were obtained. Morphological analysis demonstrated that odor enrichment produced a remarkable increase in the spine density and stability of large mushroom spine. Then, with the help of short-term imaging, we analyzed the morphological transitions among different spines. We found that transitions between small spines (thin and filopodia) were more easily influenced by odor stimulation or olfactory deprivation. These results indicate that different olfactory experiences can regulate the morphological plasticity of different dendritic spines in the granule cell.
Project description:Dendritic spines undergo continuous remodeling during development of the nervous system. Their stability is essential for maintaining a functional neuronal circuit. Spine dynamics and stability of cortical excitatory pyramidal neurons have been explored extensively in mammalian animal models. However, little is known about spiny interneurons in non-mammalian vertebrate models. In the present study, neuronal morphology was visualized by single-cell electroporation. Spiny neurons were surveyed in the Xenopus tadpole brain and observed to be widely distributed in the olfactory bulb and telencephalon. DsRed- or PSD95-GFP-expressing spiny interneurons in the olfactory bulb were selected for in vivo time-lapse imaging. Dendritic protrusions were classified as filopodia, thin, stubby, or mushroom spines based on morphology. Dendritic spines on the interneurons were highly dynamic, especially the filopodia and thin spines. The stubby and mushroom spines were relatively more stable, although their stability significantly decreased with longer observation intervals. The 4 spine types exhibited diverse preferences during morphological transitions from one spine type to others. Sensory deprivation induced by severing the olfactory nerve to block the input of mitral/tufted cells had no significant effects on interneuron spine stability. Hence, a new model was established in Xenopus laevis tadpoles to explore dendritic spine dynamics in vivo.
Project description:Dendritic spines in hippocampal neurons mature from a filopodia-like precursor into a mushroom-shape with an enlarged post-synaptic density (PSD) and serve as the primary post-synaptic location of the excitatory neurotransmission that underlies learning and memory. Using myosin II regulatory mutants, inhibitors, and knockdowns, we show that non-muscle myosin IIB (MIIB) activity determines where spines form and whether they persist as filopodia-like spine precursors or mature into a mushroom-shape. MIIB also determines PSD size, morphology, and placement in the spine. Local inactivation of MIIB leads to the formation of filopodia-like spine protrusions from the dendritic shaft. However, di-phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain on residues Thr18 and Ser19 by Rho kinase is required for spine maturation. Inhibition of MIIB activity or a mono-phosphomimetic mutant of RLC similarly prevented maturation even in the presence of NMDA receptor activation. Expression of an actin cross-linking, non-contractile mutant, MIIB R709C, showed that maturation into a mushroom-shape requires contractile activity. Loss of MIIB also leads to an elongated PSD morphology that is no longer restricted to the spine tip; whereas increased MIIB activity, specifically through RLC-T18, S19 di-phosphorylation, increases PSD area. These observations support a model whereby myosin II inactivation forms filopodia-like protrusions that only mature once NMDA receptor activation increases RLC di-phosphorylation to stimulate MIIB contractility, resulting in mushroom-shaped spines with an enlarged PSD.
Project description:Dendritic spines are heterogeneous and exist with various morphologies. Altered spine morphology might underlie the cognitive deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, but how different subtypes of dendritic spines are selectively maintained along development is still poorly understood. Spine maturation requires spontaneous activity of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and local dendritic protein synthesis. STRN4 (also called zinedin) belongs to the striatin family of scaffold proteins, and some of the potential striatin-interacting proteins are encoded by autism risk genes. Although previous studies have demonstrated their localization in dendritic spines, the function of various striatin family members in the neuron remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Strn4 mRNA is present in neuronal dendrites, and the local expression of STRN4 protein depends on NMDA receptor activation. Notably, STRN4 is preferentially expressed in mushroom spines, and STRN4 specifically maintains mushroom spines but not thin spines and filopodia through interaction with the phosphatase PP2A. Our findings have therefore unraveled the local expression of STRN4 as a novel mechanism for the control of dendritic spine morphology.
Project description:Spine pathology has been implicated in the early onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD), where A?-Oligomers (A?Os) cause synaptic dysfunction and loss. Previously, we described that pharmacological inhibition of c-Abl prevents A?Os-induced synaptic alterations. Hence, this kinase seems to be a key element in AD progression. Here, we studied the role of c-Abl on dendritic spine morphological changes induced by A?Os using c-Abl null neurons (c-Abl-KO). First, we characterized the effect of c-Abl deficiency on dendritic spine density and found that its absence increases dendritic spine density. While A?Os-treatment reduces the spine number in both wild-type (WT) and c-Abl-KO neurons, A?Os-driven spine density loss was not affected by c-Abl. We then characterized A?Os-induced morphological changes in dendritic spines of c-Abl-KO neurons. A?Os induced a decrease in the number of mushroom spines in c-Abl-KO neurons while preserving the populations of immature stubby, thin, and filopodia spines. Furthermore, synaptic contacts evaluated by PSD95/Piccolo clustering and cell viability were preserved in A?Os-exposed c-Abl-KO neurons. In conclusion, our results indicate that in the presence of A?Os c-Abl participates in synaptic contact removal, increasing susceptibility to A?Os damage. Its deficiency increases the immature spine population reducing A?Os-induced synapse elimination. Therefore, c-Abl signaling could be a relevant actor in the early stages of AD.
Project description:The inhibitory axonless olfactory bulb granule cells form reciprocal dendrodendritic synapses with mitral and tufted cells via large spines, mediating recurrent and lateral inhibition. As a case in point for dendritic transmitter release, rat granule cell dendrites are highly excitable, featuring local Na+ spine spikes and global Ca2+- and Na+-spikes. To investigate the transition from local to global signaling, we performed holographic, simultaneous 2-photon uncaging of glutamate at up to 12 granule cell spines, along with whole-cell recording and dendritic 2-photon Ca2+ imaging in acute juvenile rat brain slices. Coactivation of less than 10 reciprocal spines was sufficient to generate diverse regenerative signals that included regional dendritic Ca2+-spikes and dendritic Na+-spikes (D-spikes). Global Na+-spikes could be triggered in one third of granule cells. Individual spines and dendritic segments sensed the respective signal transitions as increments in Ca2+ entry. Dendritic integration as monitored by the somatic membrane potential was mostly linear until a threshold number of spines was activated, at which often D-spikes along with supralinear summation set in. As to the mechanisms supporting active integration, NMDA receptors (NMDARs) strongly contributed to all aspects of supralinearity, followed by dendritic voltage-gated Na+- and Ca2+-channels, whereas local Na+ spine spikes, as well as morphological variables, barely mattered. Because of the low numbers of coactive spines required to trigger dendritic Ca2+ signals and thus possibly lateral release of GABA onto mitral and tufted cells, we predict that thresholds for granule cell-mediated bulbar lateral inhibition are low. Moreover, D-spikes could provide a plausible substrate for granule cell-mediated gamma oscillations.
Project description:Dendrodendritic synaptic interactions between olfactory bulb mitral and granule cells represent a key neuronal mechanism of odor discrimination. Dendritic release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) from granule cells contributes to stimulus-dependent, rapid, and accurate odor discrimination, yet the physiological mechanisms governing this release and its behavioral relevance are unknown. Here, we show that granule cells express the voltage-gated sodium channel ?-subunit NaV1.2 in clusters distributed throughout the cell surface including dendritic spines. Deletion of NaV1.2 in granule cells abolished spiking and GABA release as well as inhibition of synaptically connected mitral cells (MCs). As a consequence, mice required more time to discriminate highly similar odorant mixtures, while odor discrimination learning remained unaffected. In conclusion, we show that expression of NaV1.2 in granule cells is crucial for physiological dendritic GABA release and rapid discrimination of similar odorants with high accuracy. Hence, our data indicate that neurotransmitter-releasing dendritic spines function just like axon terminals.
Project description:Excitatory synapses in the brain play key roles in learning and memory. The formation and functions of postsynaptic mushroom-shaped structures, dendritic spines, and possibly of presynaptic terminals, rely on actin cytoskeleton remodeling. However, the cytoskeletal architecture of synapses remains unknown hindering the understanding of synapse morphogenesis. Using platinum replica electron microscopy, we characterized the cytoskeletal organization and molecular composition of dendritic spines, their precursors, dendritic filopodia, and presynaptic boutons. A branched actin filament network containing Arp2/3 complex and capping protein was a dominant feature of spine heads and presynaptic boutons. Surprisingly, the spine necks and bases, as well as dendritic filopodia, also contained a network, rather than a bundle, of branched and linear actin filaments that was immunopositive for Arp2/3 complex, capping protein, and myosin II, but not fascin. Thus, a tight actin filament bundle is not necessary for structural support of elongated filopodia-like protrusions. Dynamically, dendritic filopodia emerged from densities in the dendritic shaft, which by electron microscopy contained branched actin network associated with dendritic microtubules. We propose that dendritic spine morphogenesis begins from an actin patch elongating into a dendritic filopodium, which tip subsequently expands via Arp2/3 complex-dependent nucleation and which length is modulated by myosin II-dependent contractility.
Project description:The common approach in morphological analysis of dendritic spines of mammalian neuronal cells is to categorize spines into subpopulations based on whether they are stubby, mushroom, thin, or filopodia shaped. The corresponding cellular models of synaptic plasticity, long-term potentiation, and long-term depression associate the synaptic strength with either spine enlargement or spine shrinkage. Although a variety of automatic spine segmentation and feature extraction methods were developed recently, no approaches allowing for an automatic and unbiased distinction between dendritic spine subpopulations and detailed computational models of spine behavior exist. We propose an automatic and statistically based method for the unsupervised construction of spine shape taxonomy based on arbitrary features. The taxonomy is then utilized in the newly introduced computational model of behavior, which relies on transitions between shapes. Models of different populations are compared using supplied bootstrap-based statistical tests. We compared two populations of spines at two time points. The first population was stimulated with long-term potentiation, and the other in the resting state was used as a control. The comparison of shape transition characteristics allowed us to identify the differences between population behaviors. Although some extreme changes were observed in the stimulated population, statistically significant differences were found only when whole models were compared. The source code of our software is freely available for non-commercial use. CONTACT:email@example.com.
Project description:Microglia play important roles in perinatal neuro- and synapto-genesis. To test the role of microglia in these processes during adulthood, we examined the effects of microglia depletion, via treatment of mice with the CSF-1 receptor antagonist PLX5622, and abrogated neuronal-microglial communication in CX3C receptor-1 deficient (Cx3cr1-/-) mice. Microglia depletion significantly lowered spine density in young (developing) but not mature adult-born-granule-cells (abGCs) in the olfactory bulb. Two-photon time-lapse imaging indicated that microglia depletion reduced spine formation and elimination. Functionally, odor-evoked responses of mitral cells, which are normally inhibited by abGCs, were increased in microglia-depleted mice. In Cx3cr1-/- mice, abGCs exhibited reduced spine density, dynamics and size, concomitantly with reduced contacts between Cx3cr1-deficient microglia and abGCs' dendritic shafts, along with increased proportion of microglia-contacted spines. Thus, during adult neurogenesis, microglia regulate the elimination (pruning), formation, and maintenance of synapses on newborn neurons, contributing to the functional integrity of the olfactory bulb circuitry.
Project description:SNX26, a brain-enriched RhoGAP, plays a key role in dendritic arborization during early neuronal development in the neocortex. In mature neurons, it is localized to dendritic spines, but little is known about its role in later stages of development. Our results show that SNX26 interacts with PSD-95 in dendritic spines of cultured hippocampal neurons, and as a GTPase-activating protein for Cdc42, it decreased the F-actin content in COS-7 cells and in dendritic spines of neurons. Overexpression of SNX26 resulted in a GTPase-activating protein activity-dependent decrease in total protrusions and spine density together with dramatic inhibition of filopodia-to-spine transformations. Such effects of SNX26 were largely rescued by a constitutively active mutant of Cdc42. Consistently, an shRNA-mediated knockdown of SNX26 significantly increased total protrusions and spine density, resulting in an increase in thin or stubby type spines at the expense of the mushroom spine type. Moreover, endogenous expression of SNX26 was shown to be bi-directionally modulated by neuronal activity. Therefore, we propose that in addition to its key role in neuronal development, SNX26 also has a role in the activity-dependent structural change of dendritic spines in mature neurons.