Thomas Sudhof, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Neurexin-2 restricts synapse numbers and restrains the presynaptic release probability by an alternative splicing-dependent mechanism.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2023; 120 (13): e2300363120
α- and β-neurexins are extensively alternatively spliced, presynaptic cell-adhesion molecules that are thought to organize synapse assembly. However, recent data revealed that, in the hippocampus in vivo, the deletion of one neurexin isoform, Nrxn2, surprisingly increased excitatory synapse numbers and enhanced their presynaptic release probability, suggesting that Nrxn2 restricts, instead of enabling, synapse assembly. To delineate the synaptic function and mechanism of action of Nrxn2, we examined cultured hippocampal neurons as a reduced system. In heterologous synapse formation assays, different alternatively spliced Nrxn2β isoforms robustly promoted synapse assembly similar to Nrxn1β and Nrxn3β, consistent with a general synaptogenic function of neurexins. Deletion of Nrxn2 from cultured hippocampal neurons, however, caused a significant increase in synapse density and release probability, replicating the in vivo data that suggested a synapse-restricting function. Rescue experiments revealed that two of the four Nrxn2β splice variants (Nrxn2β-SS4+/SS5- and Nrxn2β-SS4+/SS5+) reversed the increase in synapse density in Nrxn2-deficient neurons, whereas only one of the four Nrxn2β splice variants (Nrxn2β-SS4+/SS5+) normalized the increase in release probability in Nrxn2-deficient neurons. Thus, a subset of Nrxn2 splice variants restricts synapse numbers and restrains their release probability in cultured neurons.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2300363120
View details for PubMedID 36961922
Neurexin-2: An inhibitory neurexin that restricts excitatory synapse formation in the hippocampus.
2023; 9 (1): eadd8856
Neurexins are widely thought to promote synapse formation and to organize synapse properties. Here we found that in contrast to neurexin-1 and neurexin-3, neurexin-2 unexpectedly restricts synapse formation. In the hippocampus, constitutive or neuron-specific deletions of neurexin-2 nearly doubled the strength of excitatory CA3➔CA1 region synaptic connections and markedly increased their release probability. No effect on inhibitory synapses was detected. Stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) superresolution microscopy revealed that the neuron-specific neurexin-2 deletion elevated the density of excitatory CA1 region synapses nearly twofold. Moreover, hippocampal neurexin-2 deletions also increased synaptic connectivity in the CA1 region when induced in mature mice and impaired the cognitive flexibility of spatial memory. Thus, neurexin-2 controls the dynamics of hippocampal synaptic circuits by repressing synapse assembly throughout life, a restrictive function that markedly differs from that of neurexin-1 and neurexin-3 and of other synaptic adhesion molecules, suggesting that neurexins evolutionarily diverged into opposing pro- and antisynaptogenic organizers.
View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.add8856
View details for PubMedID 36608123
Teneurins assemble into presynaptic nanoclusters that promote synapse formation via postsynaptic non-teneurin ligands.
2022; 13 (1): 2297
Extensive studies concluded that homophilic interactions between pre- and postsynaptic teneurins, evolutionarily conserved cell-adhesion molecules, encode the specificity of synaptic connections. However, no direct evidence is available to demonstrate that teneurins are actually required on both pre- and postsynaptic neurons for establishing synaptic connections, nor is it known whether teneurins are localized to synapses. Using super-resolution microscopy, we demonstrate that Teneurin-3 assembles into presynaptic nanoclusters of approximately 80nm in most excitatory synapses of the hippocampus. Presynaptic deletions of Teneurin-3 and Teneurin-4 in the medial entorhinal cortex revealed that they are required for assembly of entorhinal cortex-CA1, entorhinal cortex-subiculum, and entorhinal cortex-dentate gyrus synapses. Postsynaptic deletions of teneurins in the CA1 region, however, had no effect on synaptic connectionsfrom any presynaptic input. Our data suggest that different from the current prevailing view, teneurins promote the establishment of synaptic connections exclusively as presynaptic cell-adhesion molecules, most likely via their nanomolar-affinity binding to postsynaptic latrophilins.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-29751-1
View details for PubMedID 35484136
A synaptic locus for TrkB signaling underlying ketamine rapid antidepressant action
2021; 36 (7): 109513
Ketamine produces rapid antidepressant action in patients with major depression or treatment-resistant depression. Studies have identified brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), as necessary for the antidepressant effects and underlying ketamine-induced synaptic potentiation in the hippocampus. Here, we delete BDNF or TrkB in presynaptic CA3 or postsynaptic CA1 regions of the Schaffer collateral pathway to investigate the rapid antidepressant action of ketamine. The deletion of Bdnf in CA3 or CA1 blocks the ketamine-induced synaptic potentiation. In contrast, ablation of TrkB only in postsynaptic CA1 eliminates the ketamine-induced synaptic potentiation. We confirm BDNF-TrkB signaling in CA1 is required for ketamine's rapid behavioral action. Moreover, ketamine application elicits dynamin1-dependent TrkB activation and downstream signaling to trigger rapid synaptic effects. Taken together, these data demonstrate a requirement for BDNF-TrkB signaling in CA1 neurons in ketamine-induced synaptic potentiation and identify a specific synaptic locus in eliciting ketamine's rapid antidepressant effects.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109513
View details for Web of Science ID 000686356500001
View details for PubMedID 34407417
CPEB3-dowregulated Nr3c1 mRNA translation confers resilience to developing posttraumatic stress disorder-like behavior in fear-conditioned mice
2021; 46 (9): 1669-1679
Susceptibility or resilience to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) depends on one's ability to appropriately adjust synaptic plasticity for coping with the traumatic experience. Activity-regulated mRNA translation synthesizes plasticity-related proteins to support long-term synaptic changes and memory. Hence, cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding protein 3-knockout (CPEB3-KO) mice, showing dysregulated translation-associated synaptic rigidity, may be susceptible to PTSD-like behavior. Here, using a context-dependent auditory fear conditioning and extinction paradigm, we found that CPEB3-KO mice exhibited traumatic intensity-dependent PTSD-like fear memory. A genome-wide screen of CPEB3-bound transcripts revealed that Nr3c1, encoding glucocorticoid receptor (GR), was translationally suppressed by CPEB3. Thus, CPEB3-KO neurons with elevated GR expression exhibited increased corticosterone-induced calcium influx and decreased mRNA and protein levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf). Moreover, the reduced expression of BDNF was associated with increased GR level during fear extinction in CPEB3-KO hippocampi. Intracerebroventricular delivery of BDNF before extinction training mitigated spontaneous fear intrusion in CPEB3-KO mice during extinction recall. Analysis of two GEO datasets revealed decreased transcriptomic expression of CPEB3 but not NR3C1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of humans with PTSD. Collectively, this study reveals that CPEB3, as a potential PTSD-risk gene, downregulates Nr3c1 translation to maintain proper GR-BDNF signaling for fear extinction.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41386-021-01017-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000646512900002
View details for PubMedID 33941859
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8280193
VAMP4 Maintains a Ca2+-Sensitive Pool of Spontaneously Recycling Synaptic Vesicles
JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
2020; 40 (28): 5389–5401
Spontaneous neurotransmitter release is a fundamental property of synapses in which neurotransmitter filled vesicles release their content independent of presynaptic action potentials (APs). Despite their seemingly random nature, these spontaneous fusion events can be regulated by Ca2+ signaling pathways. Here, we probed the mechanisms that maintain Ca2+ sensitivity of spontaneous release events in synapses formed between hippocampal neurons cultured from rats of both sexes. In this setting, we examined the potential role of vesicle-associated membrane protein 4 (VAMP4), a vesicular soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein in spontaneous neurotransmission. Our results show that VAMP4 is required for Ca2+-dependent spontaneous excitatory neurotransmission, with a limited role in spontaneous inhibitory neurotransmission. Key residues in VAMP4 that regulate its retrieval as well as functional clathrin-mediated vesicle trafficking were essential for the maintenance of VAMP4-mediated spontaneous release. Moreover, high-frequency stimulation (HFS) that typically triggers asynchronous release and retrieval of VAMP4 from the plasma membrane also augmentsCa2+-sensitive spontaneous release for up to 30 min in a VAMP4-dependent manner. This VAMP4-mediated link between asynchronous and spontaneous excitatory neurotransmission might serve as a presynaptic substrate for synaptic plasticity coupling distinct forms of release.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Spontaneous neurotransmitter release that occurs independent of presynaptic action potentials (APs) shows significant sensitivity to intracellular Ca2+ levels. In this study, we identify the vesicular soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) molecule vesicle-associated membrane protein 4 (VAMP4) as a key component of the machinery that maintains these Ca2+-sensitive fraction of spontaneous release events. Following brief intense activity, VAMP4-dependent synaptic vesicle retrieval supports a pool of vesicles that fuse spontaneously in the long term. We propose that this vesicle trafficking pathway acts to shape spontaneous release and associated signaling based on previous activity history of synapses.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2386-19.2020
View details for Web of Science ID 000548287600005
View details for PubMedID 32532887
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7343330
Role of Aberrant Spontaneous Neurotransmission in SNAP25-Associated Encephalopathies.
SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complex, composed of synaptobrevin, syntaxin, and SNAP25, forms the essential fusion machinery for neurotransmitter release. Recent studies have reported several mutations in the gene encoding SNAP25 as a causative factor for developmental and epileptic encephalopathies of infancy and childhood with diverse clinical manifestations. However, it remains unclear how SNAP25 mutations give rise to these disorders. Here, we show that although structurally clustered mutations in SNAP25 give rise to related synaptic transmission phenotypes, specific alterations in spontaneous neurotransmitter release are a key factor to account for disease heterogeneity. Importantly, we identified a single mutation that augments spontaneous release without altering evoked release, suggesting that aberrant spontaneous release is sufficient to cause disease in humans.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.10.012
View details for PubMedID 33147442
Behavioral Analysis of SNAP-25 and Synaptobrevin-2 Haploinsufficiency in Mice
2019; 420: 129-135
In central synapses, synaptobrevin-2 (also called VAMP-2) is the predominant synaptic vesicle SNARE protein that interacts with the plasma membrane SNAREs, SNAP-25 and syntaxin-1 to execute exocytosis. Mice deficient in synaptobrevin-2 or SNAP-25 show embryonic lethality, which precludes investigation of the complete loss-of-function of these proteins in the adult nervous system. However, mice that carry heterozygous null mutations survive into adulthood and are fertile. In order to elucidate how loss-of-function mutations in these proteins may result in human disease phenotypes it is important to develop bona fide animal models. Therefore, given the importance of these two critical SNAREs in central synaptic transmission and their association with several neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders, we performed a comprehensive behavioral analysis of SNAP-25 heterozygous null (SNAP-25+/-) mice as well as the synaptobrevin-2 heterozygous null (+/-) mice. This analysis revealed only mild phenotypes, SNAP-25 (+/-) mice exhibited marked hypoactivity, whereas synaptobrevin-2 (+/-) mice showed enhanced performance on the rotarod. The two mouse lines did not manifest significant deficits in anxiety-related behaviors, learning and memory measures, or prepulse inhibition. The rather mild behavioral deficits indicate that these key proteins, SNAP25 and synaptobrevin-2, are expressed in excess to circumvent the impact of potential fluctuations in expression levels on nervous system function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.08.014
View details for Web of Science ID 000498390500013
View details for PubMedID 30144509
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6387657
Genetic Dissection of Presynaptic and Postsynaptic BDNF-TrkB Signaling in Synaptic Efficacy of CA3-CA1 Synapses
2018; 24 (6): 1550-1561
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its high-affinity receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), regulate long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus, although the sites of BDNF-TrkB receptors in this process are controversial. We used a viral-mediated approach to delete BDNF or TrkB specifically in CA1 and CA3 regions of the Schaffer collateral pathway. Deletion of BDNF in CA3 or CA1 revealed that presynaptic BDNF is involved in LTP induction, while postsynaptic BDNF contributes to LTP maintenance. Similarly, loss of presynaptic or postsynaptic TrkB receptors leads to distinct LTP deficits, with presynaptic TrkB required to maintain LTP, while postsynaptic TrkB is essential for LTP formation. In addition, loss of TrkB in CA3 significantly diminishes release probability, uncovering a role for presynaptic TrkB receptors in basal neurotransmission. Taken together, this direct comparison of presynaptic and postsynaptic BDNF-TrkB reveals insight into BDNF release and TrkB activation sites in hippocampal LTP.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.020
View details for Web of Science ID 000440995100016
View details for PubMedID 30089265
Chronic lithium treatment elicits its antimanic effects via BDNF-TrkB dependent synaptic downscaling
Lithium is widely used as a treatment for Bipolar Disorder although the molecular mechanisms that underlie its therapeutic effects are under debate. In this study, we show brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is required for the antimanic-like effects of lithium but not the antidepressant-like effects in mice. We performed whole cell patch clamp recordings of hippocampal neurons to determine the impact of lithium on synaptic transmission that may underlie the behavioral effects. Lithium produced a significant decrease in α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR)-mediated miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC) amplitudes due to postsynaptic homeostatic plasticity that was dependent on BDNF and its receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB). The decrease in AMPAR function was due to reduced surface expression of GluA1 subunits through dynamin-dependent endocytosis. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a requirement for BDNF in the antimanic action of lithium and identify enhanced dynamin-dependent endocytosis of AMPARs as a potential mechanism underlying the therapeutic effects of lithium.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.25480
View details for Web of Science ID 000404842000001
View details for PubMedID 28621662
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5499943
Postnatal Loss of Mef2c Results in Dissociation of Effects on Synapse Number and Learning and Memory
2016; 80 (2): 140-148
Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors play critical roles in diverse cellular processes during central nervous system development. Studies attempting to address the role of MEF2 in brain have largely relied on overexpression of a constitutive MEF2 construct that impairs memory formation or knockdown of MEF2 function that increases spine numbers and enhances memory formation. Genetic deletion of individual MEF2 isoforms in brain during embryogenesis demonstrated that Mef2c loss negatively regulates spine numbers resulting in learning and memory deficits, possibly as a result of its essential role in development.To investigate MEF2C function in brain further, we genetically deleted Mef2c during postnatal development in mice. We characterized these conditional Mef2c knockout mice in an array of behavioral paradigms and examined the impact of postnatal loss of Mef2c on long-term potentiation.We observed increased spine numbers in hippocampus of the conditional Mef2c knockout mice. However, the postnatal loss of Mef2c did not impact learning and memory, long-term potentiation, or social and repetitive behaviors.Our findings demonstrate a critical role for MEF2C in the regulation of spine numbers with a dissociation of learning and memory, synaptic plasticity, and measures of autism-related behaviors in postnatal brain.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.09.018
View details for Web of Science ID 000378530200011
View details for PubMedID 26642739
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4826326
CPEB4 Knockout Mice Exhibit Normal Hippocampus-Related Synaptic Plasticity and Memory
2013; 8 (12): e84978
Regulated RNA translation is critical to provide proteins needed to maintain persistent modification of synaptic strength, which underlies the molecular basis of long-term memory (LTM). Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding proteins (CPEBs) are sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins and regulate translation in various tissues. All four CPEBs in vertebrates are expressed in the brain, including the hippocampal neurons, suggesting their potential roles in translation-dependent plasticity and memory. Although CPEB1 and CPEB3 have been shown to control specific kinds of hippocampus-related LTM, the role of CPEB2 and CPEB4 in learning and memory remains elusive. Thus, we generated CPEB4 knockout (KO) mice and analyzed them using several behavioral tests. No difference was found in the anxiety level, motor coordination, hippocampus-dependent learning and memory between the KO mice and their wild-type (WT) littermates. Electrophysiological recordings of multiple forms of synaptic plasticity in the Schaffer collateral pathway-CA1 neurons also showed normal responses in the KO hippocampal slices. Morphological analyses revealed that the CPEB4-lacking pyramidal neurons possessed slightly elongated dendritic spines. Unlike its related family members, CPEB1 and CPEB3, CPEB4 seems to be dispensable for hippocampus-dependent plasticity, learning and memory.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0084978
View details for Web of Science ID 000329194700124
View details for PubMedID 24386439
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3875571
Deletion of CPEB3 Enhances Hippocampus-Dependent Memory via Increasing Expressions of PSD95 and NMDA Receptors
JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
2013; 33 (43): 17008-17022
Long-term memory requires activity-dependent synthesis of plasticity-related proteins (PRPs) to strengthen synaptic efficacy and consequently consolidate memory. Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein (CPEB)3 is a sequence-specific RNA-binding protein that regulates translation of several PRP RNAs in neurons. To understand whether CPEB3 plays a part in learning and memory, we generated CPEB3 knock-out (KO) mice and found that the null mice exhibited enhanced hippocampus-dependent, short-term fear memory in the contextual fear conditioning test and long-term spatial memory in the Morris water maze. The basal synaptic transmission of Schaffer collateral-CA1 neurons was normal but long-term depression evoked by paired-pulse low-frequency stimulation was modestly facilitated in the juvenile KO mice. Molecular and cellular characterizations revealed several molecules in regulating plasticity of glutamatergic synapses are translationally elevated in the CPEB3 KO neurons, including the scaffolding protein PSD95 and the NMDA receptors along with the known CPEB3 target, GluA1. Together, CPEB3 functions as a negative regulator to confine the strength of glutamatergic synapses by downregulating the expression of multiple PRPs and plays a role underlying certain forms of hippocampus-dependent memories.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3043-13.2013
View details for Web of Science ID 000326088500014
View details for PubMedID 24155305
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6618447
Different mechanisms of extinction of conditioned taste aversion are dependent on time intervals of extinction following conditioning
2012; 99 (3): 185-189
After extinction, the reappearance of a conditioned response induced by an unconditioned stimulus which is weaker than that used during the conditioning training indicates that the extinction procedure does not eliminate the original conditioned memory. Recent studies on fear conditioning have shown that rats exhibited little or no recovery of conditioned responding if the time interval between fear acquisition and extinction was short, suggesting that the extinction process may erase the original conditioning trace in this situation. In the present study, a saving experiment was conducted in rats to investigate whether an aversive response could be recovered following extinction training with different time intervals after acquisition of conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Male Long-Evans rats developed CTA by associating a 0.2% sucrose solution with malaise induced by intraperitoneal injection of 4 ml/kg 0.15 M LiCl and were subjected to extinction training with an interval of 5 h (5H group) or 24 h (24H group) after acquisition of CTA. Rats in the 5H group, but not in the 24H group, exhibited no aversive responding to the sucrose solution followed by the injection of a lower dose of LiCl (1 ml/kg). These findings indicate that the extinction procedure administered at different time points following the acquisition of CTA affects recovery of extinguished aversive memory and suggest that an unlearning process may be involved in the mechanisms of CTA extinction with short intervals between acquisition and extinction.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00114-012-0883-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000300680700003
View details for PubMedID 22274636
DIFFERENTIAL INVOLVEMENT OF MEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX AND BASOLATERAL AMYGDALA EXTRACELLULAR SIGNAL-REGULATED KINASE IN EXTINCTION OF CONDITIONED TASTE AVERSION IS DEPENDENT ON DIFFERENT INTERVALS OF EXTINCTION FOLLOWING CONDITIONING
2010; 171 (1): 125-133
Extinction reflects a decrease in the conditioned response (CR) following non-reinforcement of a conditioned stimulus. Behavioral evidence indicates that extinction involves an inhibitory learning mechanism in which the extinguished CR reappears with presentation of an unconditioned stimulus. However, recent studies on fear conditioning suggest that extinction erases the original conditioning if the time interval between fear acquisition and extinction is short. The present study examined the effects of different intervals between acquisition and extinction of the original memory in conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Male Long-Evans rats acquired CTA by associating a 0.2% sucrose solution with malaise induced by i.p. injection of 4 ml/kg 0.15 M LiCl. Two different time intervals, 5 and 24 h, between CTA acquisition and extinction were used. Five or 24 h after CTA acquisition, extinction trials were performed, in which a bottle containing 20 ml of a 0.2% sucrose solution was provided for 10 min without subsequent LiCl injection. If sucrose consumption during the extinction trials was greater than the average water consumption, then rats were considered to have reached CTA extinction. Rats subjected to extinction trials lasting 24 h, but not 5 h, after acquisition re-exhibited the extinguished CR following injection of 0.15 M LiCl alone 7 days after acquisition. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) was examined by Western blot after the first extinction trial. ERK activation in the mPFC was induced after the extinction trial beginning 5 h after acquisition, whereas the extinction trial performed 24 h after acquisition induced ERK activation in the BLA. These data suggest that the original conditioning can be inhibited or retained by CTA extinction depending on the time interval between acquisition and extinction and that the ERK transduction pathway in the mPFC and BLA is differentially involved in these processes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.08.066
View details for Web of Science ID 000284016300012
View details for PubMedID 20826200
Brief spatial experiences increase granule cell survival in the dentate gyrus of adult rats
BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH
2010; 210 (1): 143-146
Rats of two experimental groups were placed in an open-field apparatus for 3-5 spatial exploration, each placement lasting 5min (total duration of 15-25min), and had a significantly greater newborn-neuron survival rate of the granule cells than the control group by evaluating the density of 5-bromo-2'deoxyuridine positive cells in the dentate gyrus. This study suggests that brief spatial experiences are sufficient to enhance the survival rate of newborn neurons.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.02.035
View details for Web of Science ID 000277798900021
View details for PubMedID 20188765