The tight spatial coupling of synaptic vesicles and voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (CaVs) ensures efficient action potential-triggered neurotransmitter release from presynaptic active zones (AZs). Rab-interacting molecule-binding proteins (RIM-BPs) interact with Ca2+ channels and via RIM with other components of the release machinery. Although human RIM-BPs have been implicated in autism spectrum disorders, little is known about the role of mammalian RIM-BPs in synaptic transmission. We investigated RIM-BP2-deficient murine hippocampal neurons in cultures and slices. Short-term facilitation is significantly enhanced in both model systems. Detailed analysis in culture revealed a reduction in initial release probability, which presumably underlies the increased short-term facilitation. Superresolution microscopy revealed an impairment in CaV2.1 clustering at AZs, which likely alters Ca2+ nanodomains at release sites and thereby affects release probability. Additional deletion of RIM-BP1 does not exacerbate the phenotype, indicating that RIM-BP2 is the dominating RIM-BP isoform at these synapses.
Keywords: RIM-BP2; active zone structure; calcium channel coupling; release probability; short-term plasticity.