The synaptic cleft manifests enriched glycosylation, with structured glycans coordinating signaling between presynaptic and postsynaptic cells. Glycosylated signaling ligands orchestrating communication are tightly regulated by secreted glycan-binding lectins. Using the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) as a model glutamatergic synapse, we identify a new Ca2+-binding (C-type) lectin, Lectin-galC1 (LGC1), which modulates presynaptic function and neurotransmission strength. We find that LGC1 is enriched in motoneuron presynaptic boutons and secreted into the NMJ extracellular synaptomatrix. We show that LGC1 limits locomotor peristalsis and coordinated movement speed, with a specific requirement for synaptic function, but not NMJ architecture. LGC1 controls neurotransmission strength by limiting presynaptic active zone (AZ) and postsynaptic glutamate receptor (GluR) aligned synapse number, reducing both spontaneous and stimulation-evoked synaptic vesicle (SV) release, and capping SV cycling rate. During high-frequency stimulation (HFS), mutants have faster synaptic depression and impaired recovery while replenishing depleted SV pools. Although LGC1 removal increases the number of glutamatergic synapses, we find that LGC1-null mutants exhibit decreased SV density within presynaptic boutons, particularly SV pools at presynaptic active zones. Thus, LGC1 regulates NMJ neurotransmission to modulate coordinated movement.
Keywords: Drosophila; Trans-synaptic; Glycosylation; Synapse; Synaptomatrix.
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