The Role of Nitric Oxide and GluR1 in Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Components of Neocortical Potentiation
Journal of Neuroscience
In this study, we investigated the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity at the layer IV to II/III pathway in barrel cortex of mice aged 6 -13 weeks. This pathway is one of the likely candidates for expression of experience-dependent plasticity in the barrel cortex and may serve as a model for other IV to II/III synapses in the neocortex. We found that postsynaptic autocamtide-2-inhibitory peptide is sufficient to block long-term potentiation (LTP) (IC 50 of 500 nM), implicating
... icating postsynaptic calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II in LTP induction. AMPA receptor subunit 1 (GluR1) knock-out mice also showed LTP in this pathway, but potentiation was predominantly presynaptic in origin as determined by paired-pulse analysis, coefficient of variation analysis, and quantal analysis, whereas wild types showed a mixed presynaptic and postsynaptic locus. Quantal analysis at this synapse was validated by measuring uniquantal events in the presence of strontium. The predominantly presynaptic LTP in the GluR1 knock-outs was blocked by postsynaptic antagonism of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), either with intracellular N--nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or N-nitro-L-arginine, providing the first evidence for a retrograde transmitter role for NO at this synapse. Antagonism of NOS in wild types significantly reduced but did not eliminate LTP (group average reduction of 50%). The residual LTP formed a variable proportion of the total LTP in each cell and was found to be postsynaptic in origin. We found no evidence for silent synapses in this pathway at this age. Finally, application of NO via a donor induced potentiation in layer II/III cells and caused an increase in frequency but not amplitude of miniature EPSPs, again implicating NO in presynaptic plasticity.