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J Neurosci. 2006 Aug 23;26(34):8847-56.

Isoform specificity of PKC translocation in living Aplysia sensory neurons and a role for Ca2+-dependent PKC APL I in the induction of intermediate-term facilitation.

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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1606, USA.

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  • J Neurosci. 2006 Sep 20;26(38):9833.


Protein kinase Cs (PKCs) are important effectors of synaptic plasticity. In Aplysia, there are two major phorbol ester-activated PKCs, Ca2+-activated PKC Apl I and Ca2+-independent PKC Apl II. Functional Apl II, but not Apl I, in sensory neurons is required for a form of short-term facilitation induced at sensorimotor synapses by the facilitatory transmitter serotonin (5-HT). Because PKCs are activated by translocating from the cytoplasm to the membrane, we used fluorescently tagged PKCs to determine the isoform and cell-type specificity of translocation in living Aplysia neurons. In Sf9 cells, low levels of diacylglycerol translocate Apl II, but not Apl I, which requires calcium for translocation at low concentrations of diacylglycerol. Accordingly, application of 5-HT to Aplysia sensory neurons in the absence of neuronal firing translocates Apl II, but not Apl I, consistent with the role of Apl II in short-term facilitation. This translocation is observed in sensory neurons, but not in motor neurons. Apl I translocates only if 5-HT is coupled to firing in the sensory neuron; firing alone is ineffective. Because combined 5-HT and firing are required for the induction of one type of intermediate-term facilitation at these synapses, we asked whether this form of synaptic plasticity involves activation of Apl I. We report here that dominant-negative Apl I, but not Apl II, blocks intermediate-term facilitation. Thus, different isoforms of PKC translocate under different conditions to mediate distinct types of synaptic plasticity: Ca2+-independent Apl II is involved in short-term facilitation, and Ca2+-dependent Apl I contributes to intermediate-term facilitation.

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