Axonal Na+ channels detect and transmit levels of input synchrony in local brain circuits.
ABSTRACT: Sensory processing requires mechanisms of fast coincidence detection to discriminate synchronous from asynchronous inputs. Spike threshold adaptation enables such a discrimination but is ineffective in transmitting this information to the network. We show here that presynaptic axonal sodium channels read and transmit precise levels of input synchrony to the postsynaptic cell by modulating the presynaptic action potential (AP) amplitude. As a consequence, synaptic transmission is facilitated at cortical synapses when the presynaptic spike is produced by synchronous inputs. Using dual soma-axon recordings, imaging, and modeling, we show that this facilitation results from enhanced AP amplitude in the axon due to minimized inactivation of axonal sodium channels. Quantifying local circuit activity and using network modeling, we found that spikes induced by synchronous inputs produced a larger effect on network activity than spikes induced by asynchronous inputs. Therefore, this input synchrony-dependent facilitation may constitute a powerful mechanism, regulating synaptic transmission at proximal synapses.
Project description:An unusual feature of the cerebellar cortex is that its output neurons, Purkinje cells, release GABA (?-aminobutyric acid). Their high intrinsic firing rates (50?Hz) and extensive convergence predict that their target neurons in the cerebellar nuclei would be largely inhibited unless Purkinje cells pause their spiking, yet Purkinje and nuclear neuron firing rates do not always vary inversely. One indication of how these synapses transmit information is that populations of Purkinje neurons synchronize their spikes during cerebellar behaviours. If nuclear neurons respond to Purkinje synchrony, they may encode signals from subsets of inhibitory inputs. Here we show in weanling and adult mice that nuclear neurons transmit the timing of synchronous Purkinje afferent spikes, owing to modest Purkinje-to-nuclear convergence ratios (?40:1), fast inhibitory postsynaptic current kinetics (?(decay) = 2.5?ms) and high intrinsic firing rates (?90?Hz). In vitro, dynamically clamped asynchronous inhibitory postsynaptic potentials mimicking Purkinje afferents suppress nuclear cell spiking, whereas synchronous inhibitory postsynaptic potentials entrain nuclear cell spiking. With partial synchrony, nuclear neurons time-lock their spikes to the synchronous subpopulation of inputs, even when only 2 out of 40 afferents synchronize. In vivo, nuclear neurons reliably phase-lock to regular trains of molecular layer stimulation. Thus, cerebellar nuclear neurons can preferentially relay the spike timing of synchronized Purkinje cells to downstream premotor areas.
Project description:In the mammalian brain, synaptic transmission usually depends on presynaptic action potentials (APs) in an all-or-none (or digital) manner. Recent studies suggest, however, that subthreshold depolarization in the presynaptic cell facilitates spike-evoked transmission, thus creating an analogue modulation of a digital process (or analogue-digital (AD) modulation). At most synapses, this process is slow and not ideally suited for the fast dynamics of neural networks. We show here that transmission at CA3-CA3 and L5-L5 synapses can be enhanced by brief presynaptic hyperpolarization such as an inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP). Using dual soma-axon patch recordings and live imaging, we find that this hyperpolarization-induced AD facilitation (h-ADF) is due to the recovery from inactivation of Nav channels controlling AP amplitude in the axon. Incorporated in a network model, h-ADF promotes both pyramidal cell synchrony and gamma oscillations. In conclusion, cortical excitatory synapses in local circuits display hyperpolarization-induced facilitation of spike-evoked synaptic transmission that promotes network synchrony.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Action potentials are the essential unit of neuronal encoding. Somatic sequential spikes in the central nervous system appear various in amplitudes. To be effective neuronal codes, these spikes should be propagated to axonal terminals where they activate the synapses and drive postsynaptic neurons. It remains unclear whether these effective neuronal codes are based on spike timing orders and/or amplitudes.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We investigated this fundamental issue by simultaneously recording the axon versus soma of identical neurons and presynaptic vs. postsynaptic neurons in the cortical slices. The axons enable somatic spikes in low amplitude be enlarged, which activate synaptic transmission in consistent patterns. This facilitation in the propagation of sequential spikes through the axons is mechanistically founded by the short refractory periods, large currents and high opening probability of axonal voltage-gated sodium channels.<h4>Conclusion/significance</h4>An amplification of somatic incomplete spikes into axonal complete ones makes sequential spikes to activate consistent synaptic transmission. Therefore, neuronal encoding is likely based on spike timing order, instead of graded analogues.
Project description:Delayed release of neurotransmitter, also called asynchronous release, is commonly observed at synapses, yet its influence on transmission of spike information is unknown. We examined this issue at endbulb of Held synapses, which are formed by auditory nerve fibers onto bushy cells in the cochlear nucleus. Endbulbs from CBA/CaJ mice aged P6-P49 showed prominent delayed release when driven at physiologically relevant rates. In bushy cells from mice before the onset of hearing (P6-P12), spikes were driven by delayed release up to 100 ms after presynaptic activity. However, no such spikes were observed in bushy cells from mice after the onset of hearing (>P14). Dynamic-clamp experiments indicated that delayed release can drive spikes in older bushy cells provided synchronous release is absent, suggesting that activity normally suppresses these spikes. Application of apamin or alpha-dendrotoxin revealed late spikes in older bushy cells, suggesting that postsynaptic activation of K(V)1.x and SK channels during spiking suppresses the subsequent effects of delayed release. The developmental upregulation of these potassium channels would be highly adaptive for temporally precise auditory processing. Furthermore, delayed release appeared to influence synchronous neurotransmitter release. Enhancement of delayed release using strontium was correlated with lower firing probability in current clamp and smaller synchronous EPSCs in voltage clamp. EGTA-AM had the opposite effects. These effects were consistent with delayed and synchronous release competing for a single vesicle pool. Thus delayed release apparently has negative presynaptic and postsynaptic consequences at the endbulb, which are partly mitigated by postsynaptic potassium channel expression.
Project description:Some synapses transmit strongly to action potentials (APs), but weaken with repeated activation; others transmit feebly at first, but strengthen with sustained activity. We measured synchronous and asynchronous transmitter release at "phasic" crayfish neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) showing depression and at facilitating "tonic" junctions, and define the kinetics of depression and facilitation. We offer a comprehensive model of presynaptic processes, encompassing mobilization of reserve vesicles, priming of docked vesicles, their association with Ca(2+) channels, and refractoriness of release sites, while accounting for data on presynaptic buffers governing Ca(2+) diffusion. Model simulations reproduce many experimentally defined aspects of transmission and plasticity at these synapses. Their similarity to vertebrate central synapses suggests that the model might be of general relevance to synaptic transmission.
Project description:Excitatory control of inhibitory neurons is poorly understood due to the difficulty of studying synaptic connectivity in vivo. We inferred such connectivity through analysis of spike timing and validated this inference using juxtacellular and optogenetic control of presynaptic spikes in behaving mice. We observed that neighboring CA1 neurons had stronger connections and that superficial pyramidal cells projected more to deep interneurons. Connection probability and strength were skewed, with a minority of highly connected hubs. Divergent presynaptic connections led to synchrony between interneurons. Synchrony of convergent presynaptic inputs boosted postsynaptic drive. Presynaptic firing frequency was read out by postsynaptic neurons through short-term depression and facilitation, with individual pyramidal cells and interneurons displaying a diversity of spike transmission filters. Additionally, spike transmission was strongly modulated by prior spike timing of the postsynaptic cell. These results bridge anatomical structure with physiological function.
Project description:Neurotransmitter release at most central synapses is synchronized to the timing of presynaptic action potentials. Here, we show that three classes of depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition-expressing, cholecystokinin (CCK)-containing, hippocampal interneurons show highly asynchronous release in response to trains of action potentials. This asynchrony is correlated to the class of presynaptic interneuron but is unrelated to their postsynaptic cell target. Asynchronous and synchronous release from CCK-containing interneurons show a slightly different calcium dependence, such that the proportion of asynchronous release increases with external calcium concentration, possibly suggesting that the modes of release are mediated by different calcium sensors. Asynchronous IPSCs include very large (up to 500 pA/7nS) amplitude events, which persist in low extracellular calcium and strontium, showing that they result from quantal transmitter release at single release sites. Finally, we show that asynchronous release is prominent in response to trains of presynaptic spikes that mimic natural activity of CCK-containing interneurons. That asynchronous release from CCK-containing interneurons is a widespread phenomenon indicates a fundamental role for these cells within the hippocampal network that is distinct from the phasic inhibition provided by parvalbumin-containing interneurons.
Project description:The trajectory of the somatic membrane potential of a cortical neuron exactly reflects the computations performed on its afferent inputs. However, the spikes of such a neuron are a very low-dimensional and discrete projection of this continually evolving signal. We explored the possibility that the neuron's efferent synapses perform the critical computational step of estimating the membrane potential trajectory from the spikes. We found that short-term changes in synaptic efficacy can be interpreted as implementing an optimal estimator of this trajectory. Short-term depression arose when presynaptic spiking was sufficiently intense as to reduce the uncertainty associated with the estimate; short-term facilitation reflected structural features of the statistics of the presynaptic neuron such as up and down states. Our analysis provides a unifying account of a powerful, but puzzling, form of plasticity.
Project description:Ca2+-triggered synchronous neurotransmitter release is well described, but asynchronous release-in fact, its very existence-remains enigmatic. Here we report a quantitative description of asynchronous neurotransmitter release in calyx-of-Held synapses. We show that deletion of synaptotagmin 2 (Syt2) in mice selectively abolishes synchronous release, allowing us to study pure asynchronous release in isolation. Using photolysis experiments of caged Ca2+, we demonstrate that asynchronous release displays a Ca2+ cooperativity of approximately 2 with a Ca2+ affinity of approximately 44 microM, in contrast to synchronous release, which exhibits a Ca2+ cooperativity of approximately 5 with a Ca2+ affinity of approximately 38 muM. Our results reveal that release triggered in wild-type synapses at low Ca2+ concentrations is physiologically asynchronous, and that asynchronous release completely empties the readily releasable pool of vesicles during sustained elevations of Ca2+. We propose a dual-Ca2+-sensor model of release that quantitatively describes the contributions of synchronous and asynchronous release under conditions of different presynaptic Ca2+ dynamics.
Project description:Inhibitory neurons innervating the perisomatic region of cortical excitatory principal cells are known to control the emergence of several physiological and pathological synchronous events, including epileptic interictal spikes. In humans, little is known about their role in synchrony generation, although their changes in epilepsy have been thoroughly investigated. This paper demonstraits how parvalbumin (PV)- and type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R)-positive perisomatic interneurons innervate pyramidal cell bodies, and their role in synchronous population events spontaneously emerging in the human epileptic and non-epileptic neocortex, in vitro. Quantitative electron microscopy showed that the overall, PV+ and CB1R+ somatic inhibitory inputs remained unchanged in focal cortical epilepsy. On the contrary, the size of PV-stained synapses increased, and their number decreased in epileptic samples, in synchrony generating regions. Pharmacology demonstrated-in conjunction with the electron microscopy-that although both perisomatic cell types participate, PV+ cells have stronger influence on the generation of population activity in epileptic samples. The somatic inhibitory input of neocortical pyramidal cells remained almost intact in epilepsy, but the larger and consequently more efficient somatic synapses might account for a higher synchrony in this neuron population. This, together with epileptic hyperexcitability, might make a cortical region predisposed to generate or participate in hypersynchronous events.