Glycinergic Transmission in the Presence and Absence of Functional GlyT2: Lessons From the Auditory Brainstem

  • Synaptic transmission is controlled by re-uptake systems that reduce transmitter concentrations in the synaptic cleft and recycle the transmitter into presynaptic terminals. The re-uptake systems are thought to ensure cytosolic concentrations in the terminals that are sufficient for reloading empty synaptic vesicles (SVs). Genetic deletion of glycine transporter 2 (GlyT2) results in severely disrupted inhibitory neurotransmission and ultimately to death. Here we investigated the role of GlyT2 at inhibitory glycinergic synapses in the mammalian auditory brainstem. These synapses are tuned for resilience, reliability, and precision, even during sustained high-frequency stimulation when endocytosis and refilling of SVs probably contribute substantially to efficient replenishment of the readily releasable pool (RRP). Such robust synapses are formed between MNTB and LSO neurons (medial nucleus of the trapezoid body, lateral superior olive). By means of patch-clamp recordings, we assessed the synaptic performance in controls, in GlyT2 knockout mice (KOs), and upon acute pharmacological GlyT2 blockade. Via computational modeling, we calculated the reoccupation rate of empty release sites and RRP replenishment kinetics during 60-s challenge and 60-s recovery periods. Control MNTB-LSO inputs maintained high fidelity neurotransmission at 50 Hz for 60 s and recovered very efficiently from synaptic depression. During 'marathon-experiments' (30,600 stimuli in 20 min), RRP replenishment accumulated to 1,260-fold. In contrast, KO inputs featured severe impairments. For example, the input number was reduced to ~1 (vs. ~4 in controls), implying massive functional degeneration of the MNTB-LSO microcircuit and a role of GlyT2 during synapse maturation. Surprisingly, neurotransmission did not collapse completely in KOs as inputs still replenished their small RRP 80-fold upon 50 Hz | 60 s challenge. However, they totally failed to do so for extended periods. Upon acute pharmacological GlyT2 inactivation, synaptic performance remained robust, in stark contrast to KOs. RRP replenishment was 865-fold in marathon-experiments, only ~1/3 lower than in controls. Collectively, our empirical and modeling results demonstrate that GlyT2 re-uptake activity is not the dominant factor in the SV recycling pathway that imparts indefatigability to MNTB-LSO synapses. We postulate that additional glycine sources, possibly the antiporter Asc-1, contribute to RRP replenishment at these high-fidelity brainstem synapses.

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Author:Eckhard FriaufORCiD, Sina E. Brill, Ayse Maraslioglu, Catharina Kurz, Florian Kramer, Martin F. Fuhr, Abhyudai Singh
URN (permanent link):urn:nbn:de:hbz:386-kluedo-63724
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience
Document Type:Article
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2021/05/21
Year of Publication:2021
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Date of the Publication (Server):2021/05/21
Issue:Vol. 12, February 2021
Number of page:32
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Biologie
DDC-Cassification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 500 Naturwissenschaften
MSC-Classification (mathematics):92-XX BIOLOGY AND OTHER NATURAL SCIENCES
Licence (German):Zweitveröffentlichung