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J Neurosci. 2001 Feb 15;21(4):1247-56.

Ca2+-independent protein kinase C Apl II mediates the serotonin-induced facilitation at depressed aplysia sensorimotor synapses.

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Laboratoire de Neurobiologie et Comportement, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Neurologiques, Département de Physiologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada H3C 3J7.


At nondepressed Aplysia sensory to motor synapses, serotonin (5-HT) facilitates transmitter release primarily through a protein kinase A pathway. In contrast, at depressed Aplysia sensory to motor synapses, 5-HT facilitates transmitter release primarily through a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent pathway. It is known that only two phorbol ester-activated PKC isoforms, the Ca(2+)-dependent PKC Apl I and the Ca(2+)-independent PKC Apl II, exist in the Aplysia nervous system. For the first time, we have now been able to functionally determine which isoform of PKC is involved in a particular form of plasticity. We microinjected cultured sensorimotor pairs of neurons with various PKC constructs tagged with the enhanced green fluorescent protein as a reporter for successful plasmid expression. Our results demonstrate that short-term facilitation of depressed synapses is mediated by PKC Apl II. Dominant-negative PKC Apl II, but not dominant-negative PKC Apl I, disrupted the normal kinetics of 5-HT-induced facilitation by completely blocking its rapid onset. This effect was specific to depressed synapses, because dominant-negative PKC Apl II did not inhibit 5-HT-mediated facilitation of nondepressed synapses. Our results suggest that not only different signal transduction pathways but also different isoforms of a specific cascade may mediate physiological responses according to the state of a synapse.

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