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The postsynaptic glutamate receptor subunit DGluR-IIA mediates long-term plasticity in Drosophila

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Sigrist,  SJ
Schuster Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;

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Thiel,  PR
Schuster Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;

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Reiff,  DF
Schuster Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;

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Schuster,  CM
Schuster Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sigrist, S., Thiel, P., Reiff, D., & Schuster, C. (2002). The postsynaptic glutamate receptor subunit DGluR-IIA mediates long-term plasticity in Drosophila. The Journal of Neuroscience, 22(17), 7362-7372. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.22-17-07362.2002.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-B19F-B
Abstract
The developing neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) of Drosophila larvae can undergo long-term strengthening of signal transmission, a process that has been shown recently to involve local subsynaptic protein synthesis and that is associated with an elevated synaptic accumulation of the postsynaptic glutamate receptor subunit DGluR-IIA. To analyze the role of altered postsynaptic glutamate receptor expression during this form of genetically induced junctional plasticity, we manipulated the expression levels of two so far-described postsynaptic receptor subunit genes, dglur-IIA and dglur-IIB, in wild-type animals and plasticity mutants. Here we show that elevated synaptic expression of DGluR-IIA, which was achieved by direct transgenic overexpression, by genetically increased subsynaptic protein synthesis, or by a reduced dglur-IIB gene copy number, results in an increased recruitment of active zones, a corresponding enhancement in the strength of junctional signal transmission, and a correlated addition of boutons to the NMJ. Ultrastructural evidence demonstrates that active zones appear throughout NMJs at a typical density regardless of genotype, suggesting that the space requirements of active zones are responsible for the homogeneous synapse distribution and that this regulation results in the observed growth of additional boutons at strengthened NMJs. These phenotypes were suppressed by reduced or eliminated DGluR-IIA expression, which resulted from either a reduced dglur-IIA gene copy number or transgenic overexpression of DGluR-IIB. Our results demonstrate that persistent alterations of neuronal activity and subsynaptic translation result in an elevated synaptic accumulation of DGluR-IIA, which mediates the observed functional strengthening and morphological growth apparently through the recruitment of additional active zones.