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Neuron. 1999 May;23(1):55-70.

latheo, a Drosophila gene involved in learning, regulates functional synaptic plasticity.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Mutations in the latheo (lat) gene disrupt associative learning in Drosophila , but a role for LAT in regulating neuronal function has not been demonstrated. Here, we report that LAT plays a central role in regulating Ca2(+)- and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Immunological localization of the LAT protein indicates it is present at synaptic connections of the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and is enriched in presynaptic boutons. Basal synaptic transmission amplitude at the lat mutant NMJ is elevated 3- to 4-fold, and Ca2+ dependence of transmission is significantly reduced. Multiple forms of synaptic facilitation and posttetanic potentiation (PTP) are strongly depressed or absent at the mutant synapse. Our results suggest that LAT is a novel presynaptic protein with a role in the Ca2(+)-dependent synaptic modulation mechanisms necessary for behavioral plasticity.

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