Rab3A is required for brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced synaptic plasticity: transcriptional analysis at the population and single-cell levels

Smita Thakker-Varia, Janet Alder, Robert A. Crozier, Mark R. Plummer, Ira B. Black
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates synaptic strength in hippocampal neurons, in addition to promoting survival and differentiation. To identify genes involved in trophic regulation of synaptic plasticity, we have used a multidisciplinary approach of differential display and family-specific slot blots in combination with whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of dissociated hippocampal neurons. Three hour exposure to BDNF elicited a 2.6-fold increase in synaptic charge and a
more » ... t induction of 11 genes as revealed by differential display, including the small GTP-binding vesicular trafficking protein Rab3A and the enzymeguanylate cyclase (GC). Slot blot analysis on a population of neurons confirmed an average of 3.1-fold induction of these clones. In contrast, individual pyramidal-like neurons that were first characterized electrophysiologically in the presence of BDNF and subjected to transcriptional analysis displayed more robust increases (4.8-fold), emphasizing the neuronal heterogeneity. Transcriptional changes of Rab3A and GC were accompanied by translational regulation, shown by Western blot analysis. Furthermore, a number of GC-associated and Rab3A effector molecules were induced by BDNF at either the gene or protein levels. The functional role of Rab3A in BDNF-induced synaptic plasticity was assessed using cells derived from Rab3A knock-out mice. These neurons failed to show an increase in synaptic charge in response to BDNF at 10 min; however a late response to BDNF was detected at 20 min. This late response was similar in time course to that induced by postsynaptic activation of glutamate receptors. Our results demonstrate a requirement for Rab3A and may reveal a temporal distinction between presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms of BDNF-induced synaptic plasticity associated with learning and memory.
doi:10.7282/t33f4rnn fatcat:537rmax44za4njvnrp7e2qxkaq