Ca2+ Regulates the Kinetics of Synaptic Vesicle Fusion at the Afferent Inner Hair Cell Synapse.
ABSTRACT: The early auditory pathway processes information at high rates and with utmost temporal fidelity. Consequently, the synapses in the auditory pathway are highly specialized to meet the extraordinary requirements on signal transmission. The calyceal synapses in the auditory brainstem feature more than a hundred active zones (AZs) with thousands of releasable synaptic vesicles (SVs). In contrast, the first auditory synapse, the afferent synapse of inner hair cells (IHCs) and type I spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), typically exhibits a single ribbon-type AZ tethering only tens of SVs resulting in a highly stochastic pattern of transmitter release. Spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs), besides more conventional EPSCs with a single peak, fast rise and decay (compact), also include EPSCs with multiple peaks, variable rise and decay times (non-compact). The strong heterogeneity in size and shape of spontaneous EPSCs has led to the hypothesis of multivesicular release (MVR) that is more (compact) or less (non-compact) synchronized by coordination of release sites. Alternatively, univesicular release (UVR), potentially involving glutamate release through a flickering fusion pore for non-compact EPSCs, has been suggested to underlie IHC exocytosis. Here, we further investigated the mode of release by recording sEPSCs from SGNs of hearing rats while manipulating presynaptic IHC Ca2+ influx by changes in extracellular [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]e) and by application of the Ca2+ channel antagonist, isradipine, or the Ca2+ channel agonist, BayK8644 (BayK). Our data reveal that Ca2+ influx manipulation leaves the distributions of sEPSC amplitude and charge largely unchanged. Regardless the type of manipulation, the rate of sEPSC decreased with the reduction in Ca2+ influx. The fraction of compact sEPSCs was increased in the presence of BayK, an effect that was abolished when combined with decreased [Ca2+]e. In conclusion, we propose that UVR is the prevailing mode of exocytosis at cochlear IHCs of hearing rats, whereby the rate of exocytosis and the kinetics of SV fusion are regulated by Ca2+ influx.
Project description:A Ca2+ current transient block (ICaTB) by protons occurs at some ribbon-type synapses after exocytosis, but this has not been observed at mammalian hair cells. Here we show that a robust ICaTB occurs at post-hearing mouse and gerbil inner hair cell (IHC) synapses, but not in immature IHC synapses, which contain non-compact active zones, where Ca2+ channels are loosely coupled to the release sites. Unlike ICaTB at other ribbon synapses, ICaTB in mammalian IHCs displays a surprising multi-peak structure that mirrors the EPSCs seen in paired recordings. Desynchronizing vesicular release with intracellular BAPTA or by deleting otoferlin, the Ca2+ sensor for exocytosis, greatly reduces ICaTB, whereas enhancing release synchronization by raising Ca2+ influx or temperature increases ICaTB. This suggests that ICaTB is produced by fast multivesicular proton-release events. We propose that ICaTB may function as a submillisecond feedback mechanism contributing to the auditory nerve's fast spike adaptation during sound stimulation.
Project description:Sound encoding relies on Ca2+-mediated exocytosis at the ribbon synapse between cochlear inner hair cells (IHCs) and type I spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). Otoferlin, a multi-C2 domain protein, is proposed to regulate Ca2+-triggered exocytosis at this synapse, but the precise mechanisms of otoferlin function remain to be elucidated. Here, performing whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) from SGNs in otoferlin mutant mice, we investigated the impact of Otof disruption at individual synapses with single release event resolution. Otof deletion decreased the spontaneous release rate and abolished the stimulus-secretion coupling. This was evident from failure of potassium-induced IHC depolarization to stimulate release and supports the proposed role of otoferlin in Ca2+ sensing for fusion. A missense mutation in the Otof gene (pachanga), in which otoferlin level at the IHC plasma membrane was lowered without changing its Ca2+ binding, also reduced the spontaneous release rate but spared the stimulus-secretion coupling. The slowed stimulated release rate supports the hypothesis that a sufficient abundance of otoferlin at the plasma membrane is crucial for the vesicle supply. Large-sized monophasic EPSCs remained present upon Otof deletion despite the drastic reduction of the rate of exocytosis. However, EPSC amplitude, on average, was modestly decreased. Moreover, a reduced contribution of multiphasic EPSC was observed in both Otof mutants. We argue that the presence of large monophasic EPSCs despite the exocytic defect upon Otof deletion supports the uniquantal hypothesis of transmitter release at the IHC ribbon synapse. Based upon the reduced contribution of multiphasic EPSC, we propose a role of otoferlin in regulating the mode of exocytosis in IHCs.
Project description:Spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) measured from the first synapse in the mammalian auditory pathway reach a large mean amplitude with a high level of variance (CV between 0.3 and 1). This has led some to propose that each inner hair cell (IHC) ribbon-type active zone (AZ), on average, releases ∼6 synaptic vesicles (SVs) per sEPSC in a coordinated manner. If true, then the predicted change in membrane capacitance (Cm) for such multivesicular fusion events would equate to ∼300 attofarads (aF). Here, we performed cell-attached Cm measurements to directly examine the size of fusion events at the basolateral membrane of IHCs where the AZs are located. The frequency of events depended on the membrane potential and the expression of Cav1.3, the principal Ca2+-channel type of IHCs. Fusion events averaged 40 aF, which equates to a normal-sized SV with an estimated diameter of 37 nm. The calculated SV volumes showed a high degree of variance (CV > 0.6). These results indicate that SVs fused individually with the plasma membrane during spontaneous and evoked release and SV volume may contribute more variability in EPSC amplitude than previously assumed.
Project description:We investigated the mechanisms by which activation of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) leads to inhibition of synaptic currents at the calyx of Held synapse in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) of the rat auditory brainstem. In approximately 50% of the MNTB neurons tested, activation of group I mGluRs by the specific agonist (s)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) reversibly inhibited AMPA receptor- and NMDA receptor-mediated EPSCs to a similar extent and reduced paired-pulse depression, suggestive of an inhibition of glutamate release. Presynaptic voltage-clamp experiments revealed a reversible reduction of Ca2+ currents by DHPG, with no significant modification of the presynaptic action potential waveform. Likewise, in approximately 50% of the tested cells, the CB1 receptor agonist (R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenylmethanone (WIN) reversibly inhibited EPSCs, presynaptic Ca2+ currents, and exocytosis. For a given cell, the amount of inhibition by DHPG correlated with that by WIN. Moreover, the inhibitory action of DHPG was blocked by the CB1R antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM251) and occluded by WIN, indicating that DHPG and WIN operate via a common pathway. The inhibition of EPSCs by DHPG, but not by WIN, was abolished after dialyzing 40 mm BAPTA into the postsynaptic cell, suggesting that DHPG activated postsynaptic mGluRs. Light and electron microscopy immunolabeling indicated a presynaptic expression of CB1Rs and postsynaptic localization of mGluR1a. Our data suggest that activation of postsynaptic mGluRs triggers the Ca2+-dependent release of endocannabinoids that activate CB1 receptors on the calyx terminal, which leads to a reduction of presynaptic Ca2+ current and glutamate release.
Project description:The cochlea processes auditory signals over a wide range of frequencies and intensities. However, the transfer characteristics at hair cell ribbon synapses are still poorly understood at different frequency locations along the cochlea. Using recordings from mature gerbils, we report here a surprisingly strong block of exocytosis by the slow Ca2+ buffer EGTA (10 mM) in basal hair cells tuned to high frequencies (∼30 kHz). In addition, using recordings from gerbil, mouse, and bullfrog auditory organs, we find that the spatial coupling between Ca2+ influx and exocytosis changes from nanodomain in low-frequency tuned hair cells (∼<2 kHz) to progressively more microdomain in high-frequency cells (∼>2 kHz). Hair cell synapses have thus developed remarkable frequency-dependent tuning of exocytosis: accurate low-latency encoding of onset and offset of sound intensity in the cochlea's base and submillisecond encoding of membrane receptor potential fluctuations in the apex for precise phase-locking to sound signals. We also found that synaptic vesicle pool recovery from depletion was sensitive to high concentrations of EGTA, suggesting that intracellular Ca2+ buffers play an important role in vesicle recruitment in both low- and high-frequency hair cells. In conclusion, our results indicate that microdomain coupling is important for exocytosis in high-frequency hair cells, suggesting a novel hypothesis for why these cells are more susceptible to sound-induced damage than low-frequency cells; high-frequency inner hair cells must have a low Ca2+ buffer capacity to sustain exocytosis, thus making them more prone to Ca2+-induced cytotoxicity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the inner ear, sensory hair cells signal reception of sound. They do this by converting the sound-induced movement of their hair bundles present at the top of these cells, into an electrical current. This current depolarizes the hair cell and triggers the calcium-induced release of the neurotransmitter glutamate that activates the postsynaptic auditory fibers. The speed and precision of this process enables the brain to perceive the vital components of sound, such as frequency and intensity. We show that the coupling strength between calcium channels and the exocytosis calcium sensor at inner hair cell synapses changes along the mammalian cochlea such that the timing and/or intensity of sound is encoded with high precision.
Project description:Hearing relies on rapid, temporally precise, and sustained neurotransmitter release at the ribbon synapses of sensory cells, the inner hair cells (IHCs). This process requires otoferlin, a six C2-domain, Ca2+-binding transmembrane protein of synaptic vesicles. To decipher the role of otoferlin in the synaptic vesicle cycle, we produced knock-in mice (OtofAla515,Ala517/Ala515,Ala517) with lower Ca2+-binding affinity of the C2C domain. The IHC ribbon synapse structure, synaptic Ca2+ currents, and otoferlin distribution were unaffected in these mutant mice, but auditory brainstem response wave-I amplitude was reduced. Lower Ca2+ sensitivity and delay of the fast and sustained components of synaptic exocytosis were revealed by membrane capacitance measurement upon modulations of intracellular Ca2+ concentration, by varying Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+-channels or Ca2+ uncaging. Otoferlin thus functions as a Ca2+ sensor, setting the rates of primed vesicle fusion with the presynaptic plasma membrane and synaptic vesicle pool replenishment in the IHC active zone.
Project description:EPSCs at the synapses of sensory receptors and of some CNS neurons include large events thought to represent the synchronous release of the neurotransmitter contained in several synaptic vesicles by a process known as multiquantal release. However, determination of the unitary, quantal size underlying such putatively multiquantal events has proven difficult at hair cell synapses, hindering confirmation that large EPSCs are in fact multiquantal. Here, we address this issue by performing presynaptic membrane capacitance measurements together with paired recordings at the ribbon synapses of adult hair cells. These simultaneous presynaptic and postsynaptic assays of exocytosis, together with electron microscopic estimates of single vesicle capacitance, allow us to estimate a single vesicle EPSC charge of approximately -45 fC, a value in close agreement with the mean postsynaptic charge transfer of uniformly small EPSCs recorded during periods of presynaptic hyperpolarization. By thus establishing the magnitude of the fundamental quantal event at this peripheral sensory synapse, we provide evidence that the majority of spontaneous and evoked EPSCs are multiquantal. Furthermore, we show that the prevalence of uniquantal versus multiquantal events is Ca2+ dependent. Paired recordings also reveal a tight correlation between membrane capacitance increase and evoked EPSC charge, indicating that glutamate release during prolonged hair cell depolarization does not significantly saturate or desensitize postsynaptic AMPA receptors. We propose that the large EPSCs reflect the highly synchronized release of multiple vesicles at single presynaptic ribbon-type active zones through a compound or coordinated vesicle fusion mechanism.
Project description:Serotonin receptors are potential neuroprotective agents in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system. The protective effects of serotonin receptor (5-HT1A) agonists on the survival and function of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by regulating the release of the presynaptic neurotransmitter ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were confirmed in our previous study of a chronic glaucoma rat model. However, the roles of excitatory amino acids and their interactions with the 5-HT1A receptor in glaucoma remain unknown. Here, we found that ocular hypertension increased glutamine synthetase (GS) and excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2) expression in rat retinas. In addition, the high expression of GS and EAAT2 induced by glaucoma was downregulated by the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT and the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY-100635, respectively. Patch-clamp techniques were used to record glutamate receptor-mediated spontaneous and miniature glutamatergic excitatory post-synaptic currents (sEPSCs and mEPSCs) as well as L-glutamate-induced current in OFF-type and ON-type RGCs in rat retinal slices. Although there were no significant differences in the frequency and amplitude of sEPSC and mEPSC release between normal and glaucoma OFF- and ON-type RGCs, exogenous 8-OH-DPAT administration specifically reduced the frequency, but not the amplitude, of sEPSC and mEPSC release in glaucoma OFF-type rather than ON-type RGCs; these effects were completely blocked by WAY-100635. In summary, 8-OH-DPAT decreases and increases GS and EAAT2 expression of glaucomatous retina, respectively, while decreasing sEPSC and mEPSC frequency. In contrast, WAY-100635 increases and decreases GS and EAAT2 expression of glaucomatous retina, respectively, while increasing sEPSC and mEPSC frequency. The reduction of glutamatergic presynaptic transmission by 8-OH-DPAT deactivates RGCs at the neural network level and reduces the excitotoxic damage in the pathological process of chronic glaucoma.
Project description:Mechanisms of inflammatory pain are not fully understood. We investigated the role of TRPV1 (transient receptor potential subtype V1) and TNF-?, two critical mediators for inflammatory pain, in regulating spinal cord synaptic transmission. We found in mice lacking Trpv1 the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs (sEPSCs) in lamina II neurons of spinal cord slices is reduced. Further, C-fiber-induced spinal long-term potentiation (LTP) in vivo is abolished in Trpv1 knock-out mice. TNF-? also increases sEPSC frequency but not amplitude in spinal outer lamina II (lamina IIo) neurons, and this increase is abolished in Trpv1 knock-out mice. Single-cell PCR analysis revealed that TNF-?-responding neurons in lamina IIo are exclusively excitatory (vGluT2(+)) neurons. Notably, neuroprotectin-1 (NPD1), an anti-inflammatory lipid mediator derived from ?-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid), blocks TNF-?- and capsaicin-evoked sEPSC frequency increases but has no effect on basal synaptic transmission. Strikingly, NPD1 potently inhibits capsaicin-induced TRPV1 current (IC(50) = 0.4 nm) in dissociated dorsal root ganglion neurons, and this IC(50) is ? 500 times lower than that of AMG9810, a commonly used TRPV1 antagonist. NPD1 inhibition of TRPV1 is mediated by GPCRs, since the effects were blocked by pertussis toxin. In contrast, NPD1 had no effect on mustard oil-induced TRPA1 currents. Spinal injection of NPD1, at very low doses (0.1-10 ng), blocks spinal LTP and reduces TRPV1-dependent inflammatory pain, without affecting baseline pain. NPD1 also reduces TRPV1-independent but TNF-?-dependent pain hypersensitivity. Our findings demonstrate a novel role of NPD1 in regulating TRPV1/TNF-?-mediated spinal synaptic plasticity and identify NPD1 as a novel analgesic for treating inflammatory pain.
Project description:Cochlear inner hair cells (IHCs) convert sounds into receptor potentials and via their ribbon synapses into firing rates in auditory nerve fibers. Multivesicular release at individual IHC ribbon synapses activates AMPA-mediated EPSCs with widely ranging amplitudes. The underlying mechanisms and specific role for multivesicular release in encoding sound are not well understood. Here we characterize the waveforms of individual EPSCs recorded from afferent boutons contacting IHCs and compare their characteristics in immature rats (postnatal days 8-11) and hearing rats (postnatal days 19-21). Two types of EPSC waveforms were found in every recording: monophasic EPSCs, with sharp rising phases and monoexponential decays, and multiphasic EPSCs, exhibiting inflections on rising and decaying phases. Multiphasic EPSCs exhibited slower rise times and smaller amplitudes than monophasic EPSCs. Both types of EPSCs had comparable charge transfers, suggesting that they were activated by the release of similar numbers of vesicles, which for multiphasic EPSCs occurred in a less coordinated manner. On average, a higher proportion of larger, monophasic EPSCs was found in hearing compared to immature rats. In addition, EPSCs became significantly faster with age. The developmental increase in size and speed could improve auditory signaling acuity. Multiphasic EPSCs persisted in hearing animals, in some fibers constituting half of the EPSCs. The proportion of monophasic versus multiphasic EPSCs varied widely across fibers, resulting in marked heterogeneity of amplitude distributions. We propose that the relative contribution of two modes of multivesicular release, generating monophasic and multiphasic EPSCs, may underlie fundamental characteristics of auditory nerve fibers.