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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 2;105(35):13151-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0802390105. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Synapse formation and clustering of neuroligin-2 in the absence of GABAA receptors.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Forensic Medicine, and National Institute of Neuroscience-Italy, C.so Massimo d'Azeglio, 52, I-10126 Turin, Italy.

Abstract

GABAergic synapses are crucial for brain function, but the mechanisms underlying inhibitory synaptogenesis are unclear. Here, we show that postnatal Purkinje cells (PCs) of GABA(A)alpha1 knockout (KO) mice express transiently the alpha3 subunit, leading to the assembly of functional GABA(A) receptors and initial normal formation of inhibitory synapses, that are retained until adulthood. Subsequently, down-regulation of the alpha3 subunit causes a complete loss of GABAergic postsynaptic currents, resulting in a decreased rate of inhibitory synaptogenesis and formation of mismatched synapses between GABAergic axons and PC spines. Notably, the postsynaptic adhesion molecule neuroligin-2 (NL2) is correctly targeted to inhibitory synapses lacking GABA(A) receptors and the scaffold molecule gephyrin, but is absent from mismatched synapses, despite innervation by GABAergic axons. Our data indicate that GABA(A) receptors are dispensable for synapse formation and maintenance and for targeting NL2 to inhibitory synapses. However, GABAergic signaling appears to be crucial for activity-dependent regulation of synapse density during neuronal maturation.

PMID:
18723687
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2529038
Free PMC Article
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