Neural circuits are shaped by elimination of early-formed redundant synapses during postnatal development. Retrograde signaling from postsynaptic cells regulates synapse elimination. In this work, we identified semaphorins, a family of versatile cell recognition molecules, as retrograde signals for elimination of redundant climbing fiber to Purkinje cell synapses in developing mouse cerebellum. Knockdown of Sema3A, a secreted semaphorin, in Purkinje cells or its receptor in climbing fibers accelerated synapse elimination during postnatal day 8 (P8) to P18. Conversely, knockdown of Sema7A, a membrane-anchored semaphorin, in Purkinje cells or either of its two receptors in climbing fibers impaired synapse elimination after P15. The effect of Sema7A involves signaling by metabotropic glutamate receptor 1, a canonical pathway for climbing fiber synapse elimination. These findings define how semaphorins retrogradely regulate multiple processes of synapse elimination.
Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.