Circadian clock regulates the shape and content of dendritic spines in mouse barrel cortex.
ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythmicity affects neuronal activity induced changes in the density of synaptic contacts and dendritic spines, the most common location of synapses, in mouse somatosensory cortex. In the present study we analyzed morphology of single- and double-synapse spines under light/dark (12:12) and constant darkness conditions. Using serial electron micrographs we examined the shape of spines (stubby, thin, mushroom) and their content (smooth endoplasmic reticulum, spine apparatus), because these features are related to the maturation and stabilization of spines. We observed significant diurnal and circadian changes in the shape of spines that are differentially regulated: single-synapse spines remain under circadian clock regulation, while changes of double-synapse spines are driven by light. The thin and mushroom single-synapse spines, regardless of their content, are more stable comparing with the stubby single-synapse spines that show the greatest diversity. All types of double-synapse spines demonstrate a similar level of stability. In light/dark regime, formation of new mushroom single-synapse spines occurs, while under constant darkness new stubby single-synapse spines are formed. There are no shape preferences for new double-synapse spines. Diurnal and circadian alterations also concern spine content: both light exposure and the clock influence translocation of smooth endoplasmic reticulum from dendritic shaft to the spine. The increasing number of mushroom single-synapse spines and the presence of only those mushroom double-synapse spines that contain spine apparatus in the light phase indicates that the exposure to light, a stress factor for nocturnal animals, promotes enlargement and maturation of spines to increase synaptic strength and to enhance the effectiveness of neurotransmission.
Project description:Memory is fixed solidly by repetition. However, the cellular mechanism underlying this repetition-dependent memory consolidation/reconsolidation remains unclear. In our previous study using stable slice cultures of the rodent hippocampus, we found long-lasting synaptic enhancement/suppression coupled with synapse formation/elimination after repeated inductions of chemical LTP/LTD, respectively. We proposed these phenomena as useful model systems for analyzing repetition-dependent memory consolidation. Recently, we analyzed the dynamics of dendritic spines during development of the enhancement, and found that the spines increased in number following characteristic stochastic processes. The current study investigates spine dynamics during the development of the suppression. We found that the rate of spine retraction increased immediately leaving that of spine generation unaltered. Spine elimination occurred independent of the pre-existing spine density on the dendritic segment. In terms of elimination, mushroom-type spines were not necessarily more stable than stubby-type and thin-type spines.
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: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: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:Drugs of abuse have acute and persistent effects on synapse structure and addiction-related behaviors. Trans-synaptic interactions can control synapse development, and synaptic cell adhesion molecule (SynCAM) proteins (also named nectin-like molecules) are immunoglobulin adhesion proteins that span the synaptic cleft and induce excitatory synapses. Our studies now reveal that the loss of SynCAM 1 in knockout (KO) mice reduces excitatory synapse number in nucleus accumbens (NAc). SynCAM 1 additionally contributes to the structural remodeling of NAc synapses in response to the psychostimulant cocaine. Specifically, we find that cocaine administration increases the density of stubby spines on medium spiny neurons in NAc, and that maintaining this increase requires SynCAM 1. Furthermore, mushroom-type spines on these neurons are structurally more plastic when SynCAM 1 is absent, and challenging drug-withdrawn mice with cocaine shortens these spines in SynCAM 1 KO mice. These effects are correlated with changes on the behavioral level, where SynCAM 1 contributes to the psychostimulant effects of cocaine as measured after acute and repeated administration, and in drug-withdrawn mice. Together, our results provide evidence that the loss of a synapse-organizing adhesion molecule can modulate cocaine effects on spine structures in NAc and increases vulnerability to the behavioral actions of cocaine. SynCAM-dependent pathways may therefore represent novel points of therapeutic intervention after exposure to drugs of abuse.
Project description:Associative fear learning, in which stimulation of whiskers is paired with mild electric shock to the tail, modifies the barrel cortex, the functional representation of sensory receptors involved in the conditioning, by inducing formation of new inhibitory synapses on single-synapse spines of the cognate barrel hollows and thus producing double-synapse spines. In the barrel cortex of conditioned, pseudoconditioned, and untreated mice, we analyzed the number and morphological features of dendritic spines at various maturation and stability levels: sER-free spines, spines containing smooth endoplasmic reticulum (sER), and spines containing spine apparatus. Using stereological analysis of serial sections examined by transmission electron microscopy, we found that the density of double-synapse spines containing spine apparatus was significantly increased in the conditioned mice. Learning also induced enhancement of the postsynaptic density area of inhibitory synapses as well as increase in the number of polyribosomes in such spines. In single-synapse spines, the effects of conditioning were less pronounced and included increase in the number of polyribosomes in sER-free spines. The results suggest that fear learning differentially affects single- and double-synapse spines in the barrel cortex: it promotes maturation and stabilization of double-synapse spines, which might possibly contribute to permanent memory formation, and upregulates protein synthesis in single-synapse spines.
Project description:Dendritic spines are the primary postsynaptic sites of excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. They exhibit a remarkable morphological variety, ranging from thin protrusions, to stubby shapes, to bulbous mushroom shapes. The remodeling of spines is thought to regulate the strength of the synaptic connection, which depends vitally on the number and the spatial distribution of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs). We present numerical and analytical analyses demonstrating that this shape strongly affects AMPAR diffusion. We report a pronounced suppression of the receptor exit rate out of spines with decreasing neck radius. Thus, mushroomlike spines become highly effective at retaining receptors in the spine head. Moreover, we show that the postsynaptic density further enhances receptor trapping, particularly in mushroomlike spines local exocytosis in the spine head, in contrast to release at the base, provides rapid and specific regulatory control of AMPAR concentration at synapses.
Project description:Dendritic spines are small protrusions on dendrites that endow neurons with the ability to receive and transform synaptic input. Dendritic spine number and morphology are altered as a consequence of synaptic plasticity and circuit refinement during adolescence. Dendritic spine density (DSD) is significantly different based on sex in subcortical brain regions associated with the generation of sex-specific behaviors. It is largely unknown if sex differences in DSD exist in auditory and visual brain regions and if there are sex-specific changes in DSD in these regions that occur during adolescent development. We analyzed dendritic spines in 4-week-old (P28) and 12-week-old (P84) male and female mice and found that DSD is lower in female mice due in part to fewer short stubby, long stubby and short mushroom spines. We found striking layer-specific patterns including a significant age by layer interaction and significantly decreased DSD in layer 4 from P28 to P84. Together these data support the possibility of developmental sex differences in DSD in visual and auditory regions and provide evidence of layer-specific refinement of DSD over adolescent brain development.
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.
Project description:Dendritic spines serve as preferential sites of excitatory synaptic connections and are pleomorphic. To address the structure-function relationship of the dendritic spines, we used two-photon uncaging of glutamate to allow mapping of functional glutamate receptors at the level of the single synapse. Our analyses of the spines of CA1 pyramidal neurons reveal that AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid)-type glutamate receptors are abundant (up to 150/spine) in mushroom spines but sparsely distributed in thin spines and filopodia. The latter may be serving as the structural substrates of the silent synapses that have been proposed to play roles in development and plasticity of synaptic transmission. Our data indicate that distribution of functional AMPA receptors is tightly correlated with spine geometry and that receptor activity is independently regulated at the level of single spines.