Synapse-specific and compartmentalized expression of presynaptic homeostatic potentiation

Elife. 2018 Apr 5;7:e34338. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34338.


Postsynaptic compartments can be specifically modulated during various forms of synaptic plasticity, but it is unclear whether this precision is shared at presynaptic terminals. Presynaptic homeostatic plasticity (PHP) stabilizes neurotransmission at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction, where a retrograde enhancement of presynaptic neurotransmitter release compensates for diminished postsynaptic receptor functionality. To test the specificity of PHP induction and expression, we have developed a genetic manipulation to reduce postsynaptic receptor expression at one of the two muscles innervated by a single motor neuron. We find that PHP can be induced and expressed at a subset of synapses, over both acute and chronic time scales, without influencing transmission at adjacent release sites. Further, homeostatic modulations to CaMKII, vesicle pools, and functional release sites are compartmentalized and do not spread to neighboring pre- or post-synaptic structures. Thus, both PHP induction and expression mechanisms are locally transmitted and restricted to specific synaptic compartments.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; homeostatic; neuromuscular junction; neuroscience; plasticity; synapse; synaptic terminals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Receptors, Ionotropic Glutamate / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Receptors, Ionotropic Glutamate
  • glutamate receptor IIA, Drosophila