Electrophysiological and Imaging Analysis of GFP-Tagged Protein Kinase C γ Translocation in Cerebellar Purkinje Cells

Cerebellum. 2022 Feb 26. doi: 10.1007/s12311-022-01384-6. Online ahead of print.


The cerebellum contains the highest density of protein kinase C (PKC) in the central nervous system. PKCγ, the major isotype accounting for over half of the PKCs in the cerebellum, is expressed exclusively in Purkinje cells (PCs). Inactivated PKCγ, which is localized in the cytoplasm of PC dendrites and soma, begins to translocate to the cell membrane upon activation. However, the physiological conditions that induce PKCγ translocation in PC remain largely unknown. Here, we virally expressed PKCγ-GFP in PCs and examined the conditions that induced its translocation to PC dendrites by whole-cell patch clamp analysis combined with confocal GFP fluorescence imaging. A single or repetitive (150 pulses at 5 Hz for 30 s) electrical stimulation to a climbing fiber (CF), which produced a complex spike(s) in PC, failed to induce translocation of PKCγ-GFP to the dendritic shaft of PCs. Direct current injection (+ 2 nA for 3 s) to PC also did not induce the translocation, although PCs generated simple spikes continuously at high rates. In contrast, high-frequency parallel fiber (PF) stimulation (50 pulses at 50 Hz for 1 s), which triggered action potentials followed by sustained depolarization (known as mGluR1-mediated slow depolarization), caused translocation of cytoplasmic PKCγ-GFP to the membrane. Low-frequency PF stimulation (150 pulses at 5 Hz for 30 s) induced continuous simple spike firing but did not induce translocation. These results suggest that CF-triggered depolarization, which causes Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels throughout PC dendrites and somas, is insufficient to induce the translocation of PKCγ, instead requiring high-frequency PF stimulation that activates mGluR1.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Climbing fiber; Parallel fiber; Protein kinase C γ; Purkinje cells; Translocation.