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Neuron. 2004 Aug 5;43(3):373-85.

Serotonin regulates the secretion and autocrine action of a neuropeptide to activate MAPK required for long-term facilitation in Aplysia.

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Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA.


In Aplysia, long-term facilitation (LTF) of sensory neuron synapses requires activation of both protein kinase A (PKA) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We find that 5-HT through activation of PKA regulates secretion of the sensory neuron-specific neuropeptide sensorin, which binds autoreceptors to activate MAPK. Anti-sensorin antibody blocked LTF and MAPK activation produced by 5-HT and LTF produced by medium containing sensorin that was secreted from sensory neurons after 5-HT treatment. A single application of 5-HT followed by a 2 hr incubation with sensorin produced protein synthesis-dependent LTF, growth of new presynaptic varicosities, and activation of MAPK and its translocation into sensory neuron nuclei. Inhibiting PKA during 5-HT applications and inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinase or MAPK during sensorin application blocked both LTF and MAPK activation and translocation. Thus, long-term synaptic plasticity is produced when stimuli activate kinases in a specific sequence by regulating the secretion and autocrine action of a neuropeptide.

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