Neuronal MHC class I molecules are involved in excitatory synaptic transmission at the hippocampal mossy fiber synapses of marmoset monkeys

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010 Aug;30(6):827-39. doi: 10.1007/s10571-010-9510-3. Epub 2010 Mar 16.


Several recent studies suggested a role for neuronal major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) molecules in certain forms of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of rodents. Here, we report for the first time on the expression pattern and functional properties of MHCI molecules in the hippocampus of a nonhuman primate, the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus). We detected a presynaptic, mossy fiber-specific localization of MHCI proteins within the marmoset hippocampus. MHCI molecules were present in the large, VGlut1-positive, mossy fiber terminals, which provide input to CA3 pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, whole-cell recordings of CA3 pyramidal neurons in acute hippocampal slices of the common marmoset demonstrated that application of antibodies which specifically block MHCI proteins caused a significant decrease in the frequency, and a transient increase in the amplitude, of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) in CA3 pyramidal neurons. These findings add to previous studies on neuronal MHCI molecules by describing their expression and localization in the primate hippocampus and by implicating them in plasticity-related processes at the mossy fiber-CA3 synapses. In addition, our results suggest significant interspecies differences in the localization of neuronal MHCI molecules in the hippocampus of mice and marmosets, as well as in their potential function in these species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / immunology
  • Callithrix / immunology*
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal / immunology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / immunology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Synapses / immunology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I