The small GTP-binding protein Rab3A regulates a late step in synaptic vesicle fusion.
ABSTRACT The Rab family of low-molecular-mass GTP-binding proteins are thought to guide membrane fusion between a transport vesicle and the target membrane, and to determine the specificity of docking. The docking and fusion of vesicles is, however, a complex multistep reaction, and the precise point at which Rab proteins act in these sequential processes is unknown. In brain, the Rab protein Rab3A is specific to synaptic vesicles, whose exocytosis can be monitored with submillisecond resolution by following synaptic transmission. We have now determined the precise point at which Rab3A acts in the sequence of synaptic vesicle docking and fusion by using electrophysiological analysis of neurotransmitter release in Rab3A-deficient mice. Unexpectedly, the size of the readily releasable pool of vesicles is normal, whereas Ca2+-triggered fusion is altered in the absence of Rab3A in that a more-than-usual number of exocytic events occur within a brief time after arrival of the nerve impulse.
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ABSTRACT: At the first synapse in the vertebrate visual pathway, light-evoked changes in photoreceptor membrane potential alter the rate of glutamate release onto second-order retinal neurons. This process depends on the synaptic ribbon, a specialized structure found at various sensory synapses, to provide a supply of primed vesicles for release. Calcium (Ca(2+)) accelerates the replenishment of vesicles at cone ribbon synapses, but the mechanisms underlying this acceleration and its functional implications for vision are unknown. We studied vesicle replenishment using paired whole-cell recordings of cones and postsynaptic neurons in tiger salamander retinas and found that it involves two kinetic mechanisms, the faster of which was diminished by calmodulin (CaM) inhibitors. We developed an analytical model that can be applied to both conventional and ribbon synapses and showed that vesicle resupply is limited by a simple time constant, τ = 1/(Dρδs), where D is the vesicle diffusion coefficient, δ is the vesicle diameter, ρ is the vesicle density, and s is the probability of vesicle attachment. The combination of electrophysiological measurements, modeling, and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy of single synaptic vesicles suggested that CaM speeds replenishment by enhancing vesicle attachment to the ribbon. Using electroretinogram and whole-cell recordings of light responses, we found that enhanced replenishment improves the ability of cone synapses to signal darkness after brief flashes of light and enhances the amplitude of responses to higher-frequency stimuli. By accelerating the resupply of vesicles to the ribbon, CaM extends the temporal range of synaptic transmission, allowing cones to transmit higher-frequency visual information to downstream neurons. Thus, the ability of the visual system to encode time-varying stimuli is shaped by the dynamics of vesicle replenishment at photoreceptor synaptic ribbons.The Journal of General Physiology 10/2014; · 4.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is widely reported to enhance synaptic vesicle (SV) exocytosis and neurotransmitter release. But it is still unclear whether BDNF enhances SV recycling at excitatory terminals only, or at both excitatory and inhibitory terminals. In the present study, in a direct comparison using cultured rat hippocampal neurons, we demonstrate that BDNF enhances both spontaneous and activity-dependent neurotransmitter release from excitatory terminals, but not from inhibitory terminals. BDNF treatment for 5 min or 48 h increased both spontaneous and activity-induced anti-synaptotagmin1 (SYT1) antibody uptake at excitatory terminals marked with vGluT1. Conversely, BDNF treatment did not enhance spontaneous or activity-induced uptake of anti-SYT1 antibodies in inhibitory terminals marked with vGAT. Time-lapse imaging of FM1-43 dye destaining in excitatory and inhibitory terminals visualized by post-hoc immunostaining of vGluT1 and vGAT also showed the same result: The rate of spontaneous and activity-induced destaining was increased by BDNF at excitatory synapses, but not at inhibitory synapses. These data demonstrate that BDNF enhances SV exocytosis in excitatory but not inhibitory terminals. Moreover, BDNF enhanced evoked SV exocytosis, even if vesicles were loaded under spontaneous vesicle recycling conditions. Thus, BDNF enhances both spontaneous and activity-dependent neurotransmitter release on both short and long time-scales, by the same mechanism.Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience 11/2014;
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ABSTRACT: Characterization of the genetic defects causing gonadotropic deficiency has made a major contribution to elucidation of the fundamental role of Kisspeptins and Neurokinin B in puberty onset and reproduction. The absence of puberty may also reveal neurodevelopmental disorders caused by molecular defects in various cellular pathways. Investigations of these neurodevelopmental disorders may provide information about the neuronal processes controlling puberty onset and reproductive capacity. We describe here a new syndrome observed in three brothers, which involves gonadotropic axis deficiency, central hypothyroidism, peripheral demyelinating sensorimotor polyneuropathy, mental retardation, and profound hypoglycemia, progressing to nonautoimmune insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. High-throughput sequencing revealed a homozygous in-frame deletion of 15 nucleotides in DMXL2 in all three affected patients. This homozygous deletion was associated with lower DMXL2 mRNA levels in the blood lymphocytes of the patients. DMXL2 encodes the synaptic protein rabconnectin-3α, which has been identified as a putative scaffold protein for Rab3-GAP and Rab3-GEP, two regulators of the GTPase Rab3a. We found that rabconnectin-3α was expressed in exocytosis vesicles in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) axonal extremities in the median eminence of the hypothalamus. It was also specifically expressed in cells expressing luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) within the pituitary. The conditional heterozygous deletion of Dmxl2 from mouse neurons delayed puberty and resulted in very low fertility. This reproductive phenotype was associated with a lower number of GnRH neurons in the hypothalamus of adult mice. Finally, Dmxl2 knockdown in an insulin-secreting cell line showed that rabconnectin-3α controlled the constitutive and glucose-induced secretion of insulin. In conclusion, this study shows that low levels of DMXL2 expression cause a complex neurological phenotype, with abnormal glucose metabolism and gonadotropic axis deficiency due to a loss of GnRH neurons. Our findings identify rabconectin-3α as a key controller of neuronal and endocrine homeostatic processes.PLoS Biology 09/2014; 12(9):e1001952. · 11.77 Impact Factor