News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience

1. GABAA Responses on Mossy Fiber Boutons
Henrik Alle and Jrg R. P. Geiger

Ionotropic receptors are enjoying increased appreciation for their importance in axons and nerve terminals. In this week's Journal, Alle and Geiger investigated the role of presynaptic GABAA receptors using direct recording from mossy fiber boutons (MFBs) in rat hippocampal slices. Based on the single-channel conductance of currents evoked by exogenous GABA, the authors estimated that each MFB contained 20200 receptors. The receptors were not tonically active, presumably because the receptors had a relatively low affinity for GABA, and ambient GABA was kept low by transporters. Upon extracellular high-frequency stimulation in CA3, however, the authors saw transient currents mediated by GABA spillover from cannabinoid (CB1) receptor-expressing interneurons. The authors' cell simulations indicate that GABA spillover can transiently depolarize MFBs and thus modulate evoked transmitter release.

2. For these Synapses, only the Strong Survive
Tao Lu and Laurence O. Trussell

This week, Lu and Trussell looked at synapse formation and elimination in the giant synapses between the chick auditory nerve and the nucleus magnocellularis (NM). These synapses initially form around embryonic day 12 (E12) and then are pruned back, so that by E16, each NM cell receives input from a single axon with 23 endbulb terminals. This one-to-one mapping allowed the authors to follow development at single axon synapses. At E12, EPSCs on NM cells had both NMDA and AMPA receptor components, but by E19, AMPA receptors had taken over. When the authors simultaneously recorded from two neighboring NM neurons, synchronous EPSCs arose from a common axon. By E14, these pairs of synapses consisted of one strong, predominantly AMPA receptor-mediated EPSC and one much weaker, NMDA receptor-mediated EPSC. The authors suggest that the weaker synaps

Contact: Sara Harris
Society for Neuroscience

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