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Author Yoon, Jae Young ♦ Choi, Sukwoo
Source United States Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Content type Text
Language English
Subject Keyword APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES ♦ ABUNDANCE ♦ AFFINITY ♦ CONCENTRATION RATIO ♦ DEXTRAN ♦ DIFFUSION ♦ ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION ♦ HIPPOCAMPUS ♦ HYPOTHESIS ♦ LEAD ♦ PEAKS ♦ RATS ♦ RECEPTORS ♦ REDUCTION ♦ SIGNALS ♦ SUPPORTS ♦ TRANSIENTS
Abstract Silent synapses show NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated synaptic responses, but not AMPAR-mediated synaptic responses. A prevailing hypothesis states that silent synapses contain NMDARs, but not AMPARs. However, alternative presynaptic hypotheses, according to which AMPARs are present at silent synapses, have been proposed; silent synapses show slow glutamate release via a fusion pore, and glutamate spillover from the neighboring synaptic terminals. Consistent with these presynaptic hypotheses, the peak glutamate concentrations at silent synapses have been estimated to be ≪170 μM, much lower than those seen at functional synapses. Glutamate transients predicted based on the two presynaptic mechanisms have been shown to activate only high-affinity NMDARs, but not low-affinity AMPARs. Interestingly, a previous study has developed a new approach to distinguish between the two presynaptic mechanisms using dextran, an inert macromolecule that reduces the diffusivity of released glutamate: postsynaptic responses through the fusion pore mechanism, but not through the spillover mechanism, are potentiated by reduced glutamate diffusivity. Therefore, we reasoned that if the fusion pore mechanism underlies silent synapses, dextran application would reveal AMPAR-mediated synaptic responses at silent synapses. In the present study, we recorded AMPAR-mediated synaptic responses at the CA3-CA1 synapses in neonatal rats in the presence of blockers for NMDARs and GABAARs. Bath application of dextran revealed synaptic responses at silent synapses. GYKI53655, a selective AMPAR-antagonist, completely inhibited the unsilenced synaptic responses, indicating that the unsilenced synaptic responses are mediated by AMPARs. The dextran-mediated reduction in glutamate diffusivity would also lead to the activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which might induce unsilencing via the activation of unknown intracellular signaling. Hence, we determined whether mGluR-blockers alter the dextran-induced unsilencing. However, dextran application continued to produce significant synaptic unsilencing in the presence of a cocktail of the blockers for all subtypes of mGluRs. Our findings provide evidence that slowed glutamate diffusion produces synaptic unsilencing by enhancing the peak glutamate occupancy of pre-existing AMPARs, supporting the fusion pore mechanism of silent synapses. - Highlights: • Slowed glutamate diffusion by dextran reveals synaptic responses at silent synapses. • Unsilenced synaptic responses are mediated by AMPA receptors. • Dextran-induced unsilencing is independent of metabotropic glutamate receptors.
ISSN 0006291X
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2017-01-22
Publisher Place United States
Journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume Number 482
Issue Number 4


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