Impaired Motor Coordination and Learning in Mice Lacking Anoctamin 2 Calcium-Gated Chloride Channels

Cerebellum. 2017 Dec;16(5-6):929-937. doi: 10.1007/s12311-017-0867-4.


Neurons communicate through excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Both lines of communication are adjustable and allow the fine tuning of signal exchange required for learning processes in neural networks. Several distinct modes of plasticity modulate glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses in Purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex to promote motor control and learning. In the present paper, we present evidence for a role of short-term ionic plasticity in the cerebellar circuit activity. This type of plasticity results from altered chloride driving forces at the synapses that molecular layer interneurons form on Purkinje cell dendrites. Previous studies have provided evidence for transiently diminished chloride gradients at these GABAergic synapses following climbing fiber activity. Electrical stimulation of climbing fibers in acute slices caused a decline of inhibitory postsynaptic currents recorded from Purkinje cells. Dendritic calcium-gated chloride channels of the type anoctamin 2 (ANO2) were proposed to mediate this short-term modulation of inhibition, but the significance of this process for motor control has not been established yet. Here, we report results of behavioral studies obtained from Ano2 -/- mice, a mouse line that was previously shown to lack this particular mode of ionic plasticity. The animals display motor coordination deficits that constitute a condition of mild ataxia. Moreover, motor learning is severely impaired in Ano2 -/- mice, suggesting cerebellar dysfunction. This reduced motor performance of Ano2 -/- mice highlights the significance of inhibitory control for cerebellar function and introduces calcium-dependent short-term ionic plasticity as an efficient control mechanism for neural inhibition.

Keywords: Calcium; Inhibition; Motor performance; Plasticity; Purkinje cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anoctamins / deficiency*
  • Anoctamins / genetics
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Movement Disorders / metabolism*
  • Movement Disorders / pathology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology


  • ANO2 protein, mouse
  • Anoctamins