Synaptically induced long-term modulation of electrical coupling in the inferior olive

Neuron. 2014 Mar 19;81(6):1290-1296. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.01.005.


Electrical coupling mediated by gap junctions is widespread in the mammalian CNS, and the interplay between chemical and electrical synapses on the millisecond timescale is crucial for determining patterns of synchrony in many neural circuits. Here we show that activation of glutamatergic synapses drives long-term depression of electrical coupling between neurons of the inferior olive. We demonstrate that this plasticity is not triggered by postsynaptic spiking alone and that it requires calcium entry following synaptic NMDA receptor activation. These results reveal that glutamatergic synapses can instruct plasticity at electrical synapses, providing a means for excitatory inputs to homeostatically regulate the long-term dynamics of microzones in olivocerebellar circuits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*