The voltage-gated K+ channel Kv2.1 serves a major structural role in the soma and proximal dendrites of mammalian brain neurons, tethering the plasma membrane (PM) to endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although Kv2.1 clustering at neuronal ER-PM junctions (EPJs) is tightly regulated and highly conserved, its function remains unclear. By identifying and evaluating proteins in close spatial proximity to Kv2.1-containing EPJs, we discovered that a significant role of Kv2.1 at EPJs is to promote the clustering and functional coupling of PM L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCCs) to ryanodine receptor (RyR) ER Ca2+ release channels. Kv2.1 clustering also unexpectedly enhanced LTCC opening at polarized membrane potentials. This enabled Kv2.1-LTCC-RyR triads to generate localized Ca2+ release events (i.e., Ca2+ sparks) independently of action potentials. Together, these findings uncover a novel mode of LTCC regulation and establish a unique mechanism whereby Kv2.1-associated EPJs provide a molecular platform for localized somatodendritic Ca2+ signals in mammalian brain neurons.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- James S Trimmer
- L Fernando Santana
- James S Trimmer
- Michael Kirmiz
- Nicholas C Vierra
- James S Trimmer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#20485 and #21265) of the University of California, Davis. All perfusions were performed under sodium pentobarbital anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Kenton J Swartz, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2019, Vierra et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Brain organoids have been used to recapitulate the processes of brain development and related diseases. However, the lack of vasculatures, which regulate neurogenesis and brain disorders, limits the utility of brain organoids. In this study, we induced vessel and brain organoids, respectively, and then fused two types of organoids together to obtain vascularized brain organoids. The fused brain organoids were engrafted with robust vascular network-like structures and exhibited increased number of neural progenitors, in line with the possibility that vessels regulate neural development. Fusion organoids also contained functional blood–brain barrier-like structures, as well as microglial cells, a specific population of immune cells in the brain. The incorporated microglia responded actively to immune stimuli to the fused brain organoids and showed ability of engulfing synapses. Thus, the fusion organoids established in this study allow modeling interactions between the neuronal and non-neuronal components in vitro, particularly the vasculature and microglia niche.
Fusing brain organoids with blood vessel organoids leads to the incorporation of non-neural endothelial cells and microglia into the brain organoids.