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Activity-dependent inhibitory synapse remodeling through gephyrin phosphorylation


Flores, Carmen E; Nikonenko, Irina; Mendez, Pablo; Fritschy, Jean-Marc; Tyagarajan, Shiva K; Muller, Dominique (2015). Activity-dependent inhibitory synapse remodeling through gephyrin phosphorylation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(1):E65-E72.

Abstract

Maintaining a proper balance between excitation and inhibition is essential for the functioning of neuronal networks. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which excitatory activity can affect inhibitory synapse plasticity. Here we used tagged gephyrin, one of the main scaffolding proteins of the postsynaptic density at GABAergic synapses, to monitor the activity-dependent adaptation of perisomatic inhibitory synapses over prolonged periods of time in hippocampal slice cultures. We find that learning-related activity patterns known to induce N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent long-term potentiation and transient optogenetic activation of single neurons induce within hours a robust increase in the formation and size of gephyrin-tagged clusters at inhibitory synapses identified by correlated confocal electron microscopy. This inhibitory morphological plasticity was associated with an increase in spontaneous inhibitory activity but did not require activation of GABAA receptors. Importantly, this activity-dependent inhibitory plasticity was prevented by pharmacological blockade of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), it was associated with an increased phosphorylation of gephyrin on a site targeted by CaMKII, and could be prevented or mimicked by gephyrin phospho-mutants for this site. These results reveal a homeostatic mechanism through which activity regulates the dynamics and function of perisomatic inhibitory synapses, and they identify a CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation site on gephyrin as critically important for this process.

Abstract

Maintaining a proper balance between excitation and inhibition is essential for the functioning of neuronal networks. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which excitatory activity can affect inhibitory synapse plasticity. Here we used tagged gephyrin, one of the main scaffolding proteins of the postsynaptic density at GABAergic synapses, to monitor the activity-dependent adaptation of perisomatic inhibitory synapses over prolonged periods of time in hippocampal slice cultures. We find that learning-related activity patterns known to induce N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent long-term potentiation and transient optogenetic activation of single neurons induce within hours a robust increase in the formation and size of gephyrin-tagged clusters at inhibitory synapses identified by correlated confocal electron microscopy. This inhibitory morphological plasticity was associated with an increase in spontaneous inhibitory activity but did not require activation of GABAA receptors. Importantly, this activity-dependent inhibitory plasticity was prevented by pharmacological blockade of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), it was associated with an increased phosphorylation of gephyrin on a site targeted by CaMKII, and could be prevented or mimicked by gephyrin phospho-mutants for this site. These results reveal a homeostatic mechanism through which activity regulates the dynamics and function of perisomatic inhibitory synapses, and they identify a CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation site on gephyrin as critically important for this process.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:6 January 2015
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 09:22
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 05:49
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1411170112
PubMed ID:25535349

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