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Curr Biol. 2012 Jun 19;22(12):1102-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.018. Epub 2012 May 24.

Transsynaptic control of presynaptic Ca²⁺ influx achieves homeostatic potentiation of neurotransmitter release.

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Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, 1550 4(th) Street, Rock Hall 4(th) Floor North, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


Given the complexity of the nervous system and its capacity for change, it is remarkable that robust, reproducible neural function and animal behavior can be achieved. It is now apparent that homeostatic signaling systems have evolved to stabilize neural function. At the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of organisms ranging from Drosophila to human, inhibition of postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptor function causes a homeostatic increase in presynaptic release that precisely restores postsynaptic excitation. Here we address what occurs within the presynaptic terminal to achieve homeostatic potentiation of release at the Drosophila NMJ. By imaging presynaptic Ca(2+) transients evoked by single action potentials, we reveal a retrograde, transsynaptic modulation of presynaptic Ca(2+) influx that is sufficient to account for the rapid induction and sustained expression of the homeostatic change in vesicle release. We show that the homeostatic increase in Ca(2+) influx and release is blocked by a point mutation in the presynaptic CaV2.1 channel, demonstrating that the modulation of presynaptic Ca(2+) influx through this channel is causally required for homeostatic potentiation of release. Together with additional analyses, we establish that retrograde, transsynaptic modulation of presynaptic Ca(2+) influx through CaV2.1 channels is a key factor underlying the homeostatic regulation of neurotransmitter release.

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