The Presynaptic Scaffold Protein Bassoon in Forebrain Excitatory Neurons Mediates Hippocampal Circuit Maturation: Potential Involvement of TrkB Signalling

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 26;22(15):7944. doi: 10.3390/ijms22157944.


A presynaptic active zone organizer protein Bassoon orchestrates numerous important functions at the presynaptic active zone. We previously showed that the absence of Bassoon exclusively in forebrain glutamatergic presynapses (BsnEmx1cKO) in mice leads to developmental disturbances in dentate gyrus (DG) affecting synaptic excitability, morphology, neurogenesis and related behaviour during adulthood. Here, we demonstrate that hyperexcitability of the medial perforant path-to-DG (MPP-DG) pathway in BsnEmx1cKO mice emerges during adolescence and is sustained during adulthood. We further provide evidence for a potential involvement of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), the high-affinity receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), mediated signalling. We detect elevated TrkB protein levels in the dorsal DG of adult mice (~3-5 months-old) but not in adolescent (~4-5 weeks-old) mice. Electrophysiological analysis reveals increased field-excitatory-postsynaptic-potentials (fEPSPs) in the DG of the adult, but not in adolescent BsnEmx1cKO mice. In line with an increased TrkB expression during adulthood in BsnEmx1cKO, blockade of TrkB normalizes the increased synaptic excitability in the DG during adulthood, while no such effect was observed in adolescence. Accordingly, neurogenesis, which has previously been found to be increased in adult BsnEmx1cKO mice, was unaffected at adolescent age. Our results suggest that Bassoon plays a crucial role in the TrkB-dependent postnatal maturation of the hippocampus.

Keywords: TrkB; bassoon; fEPSP; glutamatergic presynapse; hippocampus; neurogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Bsn protein, mouse
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Ntrk2 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases