latheo, a Drosophila gene involved in learning, regulates functional synaptic plasticity

Neuron. 1999 May;23(1):55-70. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80753-9.


Mutations in the latheo (lat) gene disrupt associative learning in Drosophila , but a role for LAT in regulating neuronal function has not been demonstrated. Here, we report that LAT plays a central role in regulating Ca2(+)- and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Immunological localization of the LAT protein indicates it is present at synaptic connections of the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and is enriched in presynaptic boutons. Basal synaptic transmission amplitude at the lat mutant NMJ is elevated 3- to 4-fold, and Ca2+ dependence of transmission is significantly reduced. Multiple forms of synaptic facilitation and posttetanic potentiation (PTP) are strongly depressed or absent at the mutant synapse. Our results suggest that LAT is a novel presynaptic protein with a role in the Ca2(+)-dependent synaptic modulation mechanisms necessary for behavioral plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Larva / physiology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Pupa / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Orc3 protein, Drosophila