Neuronal circuit output is dependent on the embedded synapses’ precise regulation of Ca2+ mediated release of neurotransmitter filled synaptic vesicles (SVs) in response to action potential (AP) depolarizations. A key determinant of SV release is the specific expression, organization, and abundance of voltage gated calcium channel (VGCC) subtypes at presynaptic active zones (AZs). In particular, the relative distance that SVs are coupled to VGCCs at AZs results in two different modes of SV release that dramatically impacts synapse release probability and ultimately the neuronal circuit output. They are: “Ca2+ microdomain,” SV release due to cooperative action of many loosely coupled VGCCs to SVs, or “Ca 2+ nanodomain,” SV release due to fewer more tightly coupled VGCCs to SVs. VGCCs are multi-subunit complexes with the pore forming a1 subunit (Cav2.1), the critical determinant of the VGCC subtype kinetics, abundance, and organization at the AZ. Although in central synapses Cav2.2 and Cav2.1 mediate synchronous transmitter release, neurons express multiple VGCC subtypes with differential expression patterns between the cell body and the pre-synapse. The calyx of Held, a giant axosomatic glutamatergic presynaptic terminal that arises from the globular bushy cells (GBC) in the cochlear nucleus, exclusively uses Cav2.1 VGCCs to support the early stages of auditory processing. Due to its experimental accessibility the calyx provides unparalleled opportunities to gain mechanistic insights into Cav2.1 expression, organization, and SV release modes at the presynaptic terminal. Although many molecules are implicated in mediating Cav2.1 expression and SV to VGCC coupling through multiple binding domains on the C-terminus of the Cav2.1 a1 subunit, the underlying fundamental molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined. Here, using viral vector mediated approaches in combination with Cav2.1 conditional knock out transgenic mice, we demonstrate that that there a two independent pathways that control Ca v2.1 expression and SV to VGCC coupling at the calyx of Held. These implications for the regulation of synaptic transmission in CNS synapses are discussed.
|Advisor:||Young, Samuel M.|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Calcium channels, Neuroscience, Synaptic physiology|
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