[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is currently unknown whether the molecular steps of large dense-core vesicle (LDCV) docking and priming are identical to the corresponding reactions in synaptic vesicle (SV) exocytosis. Munc13s are essential for SV docking and priming, and we systematically analyzed their role in LDCV exocytosis using chromaffin cells lacking individual isoforms. We show that particularly Munc13-2 plays a fundamental role in LDCV exocytosis, but in contrast to synapses lacking Munc13s, the corresponding chromaffin cells do not exhibit a vesicle docking defect. We further demonstrate that ubMunc13-2 and Munc13-1 confer Ca
-dependent LDCV priming with similar affinities, but distinct kinetics. Using a mathematical model, we identify an early LDCV priming step that is strongly dependent upon Munc13s. Our data demonstrate that the molecular steps of SV and LDCV priming are very similar while SV and LDCV docking mechanisms are distinct.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The regulatory protein collybistin (CB)(2) recruits the receptor-scaffolding protein gephyrin to mammalian inhibitory glycinergic and GABAergic postsynaptic membranes in nerve cells. CB is tethered to the membrane via phosphoinositides. We developed an in vitro assay based on solid-supported 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine membranes doped with different phosphoinositides on silicon/silicon dioxide substrates to quantify the binding of various CB2 constructs using reflectometric interference spectroscopy. Based on adsorption isotherms, we obtained dissociation constants and binding capacities of the membranes. Our results show that full length CB2 (CB2SH3+) harboring the N-terminal SH3-domain adopts a closed and autoinhibited conformation that largely prevents membrane binding. This autoinhibition is relieved upon introduction of the W24A-E262A mutation, which conformationally 'opens' CB2SH3+ and allows the PH domain to properly bind lipids depending on the phosphoinositide species with a preference for PI(3)P and PI(4)P. This type of membrane tethering under the control of the release of the SH3-domain of CB is essential for regulating gephyrin clustering.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2015; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M115.673400 · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic adhesion protein Neuroligin-4 are among the most common genetic abnormalities associated with autism spectrum disorders, but little is known about the function of Neuroligin-4 and the consequences of its loss. We assessed synaptic and network characteristics in Neuroligin-4 knockout mice, focusing on the hippocampus as a model brain region with a critical role in cognition and memory, and found that Neuroligin-4 deletion causes subtle defects of the protein composition and function of GABAergic synapses in the hippocampal CA3 region. Interestingly, these subtle synaptic changes are accompanied by pronounced perturbations of γ-oscillatory network activity, which has been implicated in cognitive function and is altered in multiple psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Our data provide important insights into the mechanisms by which Neuroligin-4-dependent GABAergic synapses may contribute to autism phenotypes and indicate new strategies for therapeutic approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calsyntenin-2 plays an evolutionarily conserved role in cognition. In a human genome-wide screen, the CLSTN2 locus was associated with verbal episodic memory, and expression of human calsyntenin-2 rescues the associative learning defect in orthologous C. elegans mutants. Other calsyntenins promote synapse development, calsyntenin-1 selectively of excitatory synapses and calsyntenin-3 of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. We found that targeted deletion of calsyntenin-2 in mice results in a selective reduction in functional inhibitory synapses. Reduced inhibitory transmission was associated with a selective reduction of parvalbumin interneurons in hippocampus and cortex. Clstn2(-/-) mice showed normal behavior in elevated plus maze, forced swim test, and novel object recognition assays. However, Clstn2(-/-) mice were hyperactive in the open field and showed deficits in spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze and Barnes maze. These results confirm a function for calsyntenin-2 in cognitive performance and indicate an underlying mechanism that involves parvalbumin interneurons and aberrant inhibitory transmission.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 14 July 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.206.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2015; DOI:10.1038/npp.2015.206 · 7.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The energy required to fuse synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane ('activation energy') is considered a major determinant in synaptic efficacy. From reaction rate theory we predict that a class of modulations exists, which utilize linear modulation of the energy barrier for fusion to achieve supralinear effects on the fusion rate. To test this prediction experimentally, we developed a method to assess the number of releasable vesicles, rate constants for vesicle priming, unpriming, and fusion, and the activation energy for fusion by fitting a vesicle state model to synaptic responses induced by hypertonic solutions. We show that ComplexinI/II deficiency or phorbol ester stimulation indeed affects responses to hypertonic solution in a supralinear manner. An additive versus multiplicative relationship between activation energy and fusion rate provides a novel explanation for previously observed non-linear effects of genetic/pharmacological perturbations on synaptic transmission and a novel interpretation of the cooperative nature of Ca(2+)-dependent release.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Munc13-3 is a member of the Munc13 family of synaptic vesicle priming proteins and mainly expressed in cerebellar neurons. Munc13-3 null mutant (Munc13-3
−/−) mice show decreased synaptic release probability at parallel fiber to Purkinje cell, granule cell to Golgi cell, and granule cell to basket cell synapses and exhibit a motor learning deficit at highest rotarod speeds. Since we detected Munc13-3 immunoreactivity in the dentate gyrus, as reported here for the first time, and current studies indicated a crucial role for the cerebellum in hippocampus-dependent spatial memory, we systematically investigated Munc13-3
−/− mice versus wild-type littermates of both genders with respect to hippocampus-related cognition and a range of basic behaviors, including tests for anxiety, sensory functions, motor performance and balance, sensorimotor gating, social interaction and competence, and repetitive and compulsive behaviors. Neither basic behavior nor hippocampus-dependent cognitive performance, evaluated by Morris water maze, hole board working and reference memory, IntelliCage-based place learning including multiple reversals, and fear conditioning, showed any difference between genotypes. However, consistent with a disturbed cerebellar reflex circuitry, a reliable reduction in the acoustic startle response in both male and female Munc13-3
−/− mice was found. To conclude, complete deletion of Munc13-3 leads to a robust decrease in the acoustic startle response. This readout of a fast cerebellar reflex circuitry obviously requires synaptic vesicle priming by Munc13-3 for full functionality, in contrast to other behavioral or cognitive features, where a nearly perfect compensation of Munc13-3 deficiency by related synaptic proteins has to be assumed.
The Cerebellum 01/2015; 14(3). DOI:10.1007/s12311-015-0645-0 · 2.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ribbon synapses of cochlear inner hair cells (IHCs) employ efficient vesicle replenishment to indefatigably encode sound. In neurons, neuroendocrine and immune cells, vesicle replenishment depends on proteins of the mammalian uncoordinated 13 (Munc13) and Ca(2+)-dependent activator proteins for secretion (CAPS) families, which prime vesicles for exocytosis. Here, we tested whether Munc13 and CAPS proteins also regulate exocytosis in mouse IHCs by combining immunohistochemistry with auditory systems physiology and IHC patch-clamp recordings of exocytosis in mice lacking Munc13 and CAPS isoforms. Surprisingly, we did not detect Munc13 or CAPS proteins at IHC presynaptic active zones (AZs) and found normal IHC exocytosis as well as auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) in Munc13 and CAPS deletion mutants. Instead, we show that otoferlin, a C2-domain protein critical for vesicular fusion and replenishment in IHCs, clusters at the plasma membrane of the presynaptic AZ. Electron tomography of otoferlin-deficient IHC synapses revealed a reduction of short tethers holding vesicles at the AZ, which might be a structural correlate of impaired vesicle priming in otoferlin-deficient IHCs. We conclude that IHCs use an unconventional priming machinery that involves otoferlin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Munc13-3 is a presynaptic protein implicated in vesicle priming that is strongly expressed in cerebellar granule cells (GCs). Mice deficient of Munc13-3 (Munc13-3−/−) show an increased paired-pulse ratio (PPR), which led to the hypothesis that Munc13-3 increases the release probability (pr) of vesicles. In the present study, we analyzed unitary synaptic connections between GCs and basket cells in acute cerebellar slices from wild-type and Munc13-3−/− mice. Unitary EPSCs recorded from Munc13-3−/− GCs showed normal kinetics and synaptic latency but a significantly increased PPR and fraction of synaptic failures. A quantal analysis revealed that neither the charge of single quanta nor the binominal parameter N were affected by loss of Munc13-3 but that pr was almost halved in Munc13-3−/−. Neither presynaptic Ca2+ influx was affected by deletion of Munc13-3 nor replenishment of the readily releasable vesicle pool. However, a high concentration of EGTA led to a reduction in EPSCs that was significantly stronger in Munc13-3−/−. We conclude that Munc13-3 is responsible for an additional step of molecular and/or positional “superpriming” that substantially increases the efficacy of Ca2+-triggered release.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 10/2014; 34:14687-14696. DOI:10.1523/jneurosci.2060-14.2014 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic vesicle docking, priming, and fusion at active zones are orchestrated by a complex molecular machinery. We employed hippocampal organotypic slice cultures from mice lacking key presynaptic proteins, cryofixation, and three-dimensional electron tomography to study the mechanism of synaptic vesicle docking in the same experimental setting, with high precision, and in a near-native state. We dissected previously indistinguishable, sequential steps in synaptic vesicle active zone recruitment (tethering) and membrane attachment (docking) and found that vesicle docking requires Munc13/CAPS family priming proteins and all three neuronal SNAREs, but not Synaptotagmin-1 or Complexins. Our data indicate that membrane-attached vesicles comprise the readily releasable pool of fusion-competent vesicles and that synaptic vesicle docking, priming, and trans-SNARE complex assembly are the respective morphological, functional, and molecular manifestations of the same process, which operates downstream of vesicle tethering by active zone components.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein ubiquitination is a core regulatory determinant of neural development. Previous studies have indicated that the Nedd4-family E3 ubiquitin ligases Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2 may ubiquitinate phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and thereby regulate axonal growth in neurons. Using conditional knockout mice, we show here that Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2 are indeed required for axonal growth in murine central nervous system neurons. However, in contrast to previously published data, we demonstrate that PTEN is not a substrate of Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, and that aberrant PTEN ubiquitination is not involved in the impaired axon growth upon deletion of Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2. Rather, PTEN limits Nedd4-1 protein levels by modulating the activity of mTORC1, a protein complex that controls protein synthesis and cell growth. Our data demonstrate that Nedd4-family E3 ligases promote axonal growth and branching in the developing mammalian brain, where PTEN is not a relevant substrate. Instead, PTEN controls neurite growth by regulating Nedd4-1 expression.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2014; 111(36). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1400737111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The formation of neuronal synapses and the dynamic regulation of their efficacy depend on the assembly of the postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptor apparatus. Receptor recruitment to inhibitory GABAergic and glycinergic synapses is controlled by the scaffold protein gephyrin and the adaptor protein collybistin. We derived new insights into the structure of collybistin and used these to design biochemical, cell biological, and genetic analyses of collybistin function. Our data define a collybistin-based protein interaction network that controls the gephyrin content of inhibitory postsynapses. Within this network, collybistin can adopt open/active and closed/inactive conformations to act as a switchable adaptor that links gephyrin to plasma membrane phosphoinositides. This function of collybistin is regulated by binding of the adhesion protein neuroligin-2, which stabilizes the open/active conformation of collybistin at the postsynaptic plasma membrane by competing with an intramolecular interaction in collybistin that favors the closed/inactive conformation. By linking trans-synaptic neuroligin-dependent adhesion and phosphoinositide signaling with gephyrin recruitment, the collybistin-based regulatory switch mechanism represents an integrating regulatory node in the formation and function of inhibitory postsynapses.
The EMBO Journal 07/2014; 33(18). DOI:10.15252/embj.201488143 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroligin-4 (Nlgn4) is a member of the neuroligin family of postsynaptic cell adhesion molecules. Loss-of-function mutations of NLGN4 are among the most frequent, known genetic causes of heritable autism. Adult Nlgn4 null mutant (Nlgn4(-/-)) mice are a construct valid model of human autism, with both genders displaying a remarkable autistic phenotype, including deficits in social interaction and communication as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors. In contrast to adults, autism-related abnormalities in neonatal and juvenile Nlgn4(-/-) mice have not been reported yet. The present study has been designed to systematically investigate in male and female Nlgn4(-/-) pups versus wildtype littermates (WT, Nlgn4(+/+)) developmental milestones and stimulus-induced ultrasound vocalization (USV). Neonatal development, followed daily from postnatal days (PND) 4-21, including physical development, neurological reflexes and neuromotor coordination, did not yield any differences between Nlgn4(-/-) and their WT littermates. USV in pups (PND 8-9) in response to brief separation from their mothers revealed remarkable gender effects, and a genotype influence in females regarding latency to first call. In juveniles (PND 22-23), USV monitoring upon exposure to an anesthetized female intruder mouse uncovered a clear genotype effect with reduced USV in Nlgn4(-/-) mice, and again a more prominent phenotype in females. Together, these data support an early manifestation of communication deficits in Nlgn4(-/-) mice that appear more pronounced in immature females with their overall stronger USV as compared to males.
Behavioural Brain Research 05/2014; 270. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.019 · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ComplexinII (CpxII) and SynaptotagminI (SytI) have been implicated in regulating the function of SNARE proteins in exocytosis, but their precise mode of action and potential interplay have remained unknown. In this paper, we show that CpxII increases Ca(2+)-triggered vesicle exocytosis and accelerates its secretory rates, providing two independent, but synergistic, functions to enhance synchronous secretion. Specifically, we demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of CpxII increases the pool of primed vesicles by hindering premature exocytosis at submicromolar Ca(2+) concentrations, whereas the N-terminal domain shortens the secretory delay and accelerates the kinetics of Ca(2+)-triggered exocytosis by increasing the Ca(2+) affinity of synchronous secretion. With its C terminus, CpxII attenuates fluctuations of the early fusion pore and slows its expansion but is functionally antagonized by SytI, enabling rapid transmitter discharge from single vesicles. Thus, our results illustrate how key features of CpxII, SytI, and their interplay transform the constitutively active SNARE-mediated fusion mechanism into a highly synchronized, Ca(2+)-triggered release apparatus.
The Journal of Cell Biology 03/2014; 204(7):1123-40. DOI:10.1083/jcb.201311085 · 9.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous metaphors have been employed to describe the achievements of the 2013 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof, who were honored for "their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells." Most of these metaphors referred to the mundane issue of business logistics, and there is probably no other cell type in which the logistics problem is more pressing than in neurons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For decades, neuroscientists have used enriched preparations of synaptic particles called synaptosomes to study synapse function. However, the interpretation of corresponding data is problematic as synaptosome preparations contain multiple types of synapses and non-synaptic neuronal and glial contaminants. We established a novel Fluorescence Activated Synaptosome Sorting (FASS) method that substantially improves conventional synaptosome enrichment protocols and enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations. Employing knock-in mice with fluorescent glutamatergic synapses, we show that FASS isolates intact ultrapure synaptosomes composed of a resealed presynaptic terminal and a postsynaptic density as assessed by light and electron microscopy. FASS synaptosomes contain bona fide glutamatergic synapse proteins but are almost devoid of other synapse types and extrasynaptic or glial contaminants. We identified 163 enriched proteins in FASS samples, of which FXYD6 and Tpd52 were validated as new synaptic proteins. FASS purification thus enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations in health and disease.
The EMBO Journal 01/2014; 33(2). DOI:10.1002/embj.201386120 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is enormous, and the neurobiology of proteins encoded by genes associated with ASD is very diverse. Revealing the mechanisms on which different neurobiological pathways in ASD pathogenesis converge may lead to the identification of drug targets.
The main objective is firstly to outline the main molecular networks and neuronal mechanisms in which ASD gene products participate and secondly to answer the question how these converge. Finally, we aim to pinpoint drug targets within these mechanisms.
Literature review of the neurobiological properties of ASD gene products with a special focus on the developmental consequences of genetic defects and the possibility to reverse these by genetic or pharmacological interventions.
The regulation of activity-dependent protein synthesis appears central in the pathogenesis of ASD. Through sequential consequences for axodendritic function, neuronal disabilities arise expressed as behavioral abnormalities and autistic symptoms in ASD patients. Several known ASD gene products have their effect on this central process by affecting protein synthesis intrinsically, e.g., through enhancing the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway or through impairing synaptic function in general. These are interrelated processes and can be targeted by compounds from various directions: inhibition of protein synthesis through Lovastatin, mTOR inhibition using rapamycin, or mGluR-related modulation of synaptic activity.
ASD gene products may all feed into a central process of translational control that is important for adequate glutamatergic regulation of dendritic properties. This process can be modulated by available compounds but may also be targeted by yet unexplored routes.