The NMDAR is thought to play a key role in the refinement of connectivity in developing neural circuits. Pharmacological blockade or genetic loss-of-function manipulations that prevent NMDAR function during development result in the disorganization of topographic axonal projections. However, because NMDARs contribute to overall glutamatergic neurotransmission, such loss-of-function experiments fail to adequately distinguish between the roles played by NMDARs and neural activity in general. The gliotransmitter D-serine is a coagonist of the NMDAR that is required for NMDAR channel opening, but which cannot mediate neurotransmission on its own. Here we demonstrate that acute administration of D-serine has no immediate effect on glutamate release or AMPA-mediated neurotransmission. We show that endogenous D-serine is normally present below saturating levels in the developing visual system of the Xenopus tadpole. Using an amperometric enzymatic biosensor, we demonstrate that glutamatergic activation elevates ambient endogenous D-serine levels in the optic tectum. Chronically elevating levels of D-serine promoted synaptic maturation and resulted in the hyperstabilization of developing axon branches in the tadpole visual system. Conversely, treatment with an enzyme that degrades endogenous D-serine resulted in impaired synaptic maturation. Despite the reduction in axon arbor complexity seen in D-serine-treated animals, tectal neuron visual receptive fields were expanded, suggesting a failure to prune divergent retinal inputs. Together, these findings positively implicate NMDAR-mediated neurotransmission in developmental synapse maturation and the stabilization of axonal inputs and reveal a potential role for D-serine as an endogenous modulator of circuit refinement.
|Titolo:||The gliotransmitter D-serine promotes synapse maturation and axonal stabilization in Vivo|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su Rivista|