Dark exposure (DE) followed by light reintroduction (LRx) reactivates robust synaptic plasticity in adult mouse V1, which allows recovery from amblyopia. Previously we showed that LRx-induced perisynaptic proteolysis of extracellular matrix (ECM) by MMP9 mediates the enhanced plasticity in binocular adult mice (Murase et al., 2017). However, it is unknown if a visual system compromised by amblyopia could engage this pathway. Here we show that LRx to adult amblyopic mice induces perisynaptic MMP2/9 activity and ECM degradation in the deprived and non-deprived V1. LRx restricted to the amblyopic eye induces equally robust MMP2/9 activity at thalamo-cortical synapses and ECM degradation in deprived V1. Two-photon live imaging demonstrates that the history of visual experience regulates MMP2/9 activity in V1, and that DE lowers the threshold for the proteinase activation. The homeostatic reduction of MMP2/9 activation threshold by DE enables the visual input from the amblyopic pathway to trigger robust perisynaptic proteolysis.
All data generated/analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1-5.
- Elizabeth M Quinlan
- Patrick O Kanold
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures, under Quinlan lab protocol R-MAY-18-25, conformed to the guidelines of the University of Maryland Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health.
- Sacha B Nelson, Brandeis University, United States
© 2019, Murase 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.
Learning from experience depends at least in part on changes in neuronal connections. We present the largest map of connectivity to date between cortical neurons of a defined type (layer 2/3 [L2/3] pyramidal cells in mouse primary visual cortex), which was enabled by automated analysis of serial section electron microscopy images with improved handling of image defects (250 × 140 × 90 μm3 volume). We used the map to identify constraints on the learning algorithms employed by the cortex. Previous cortical studies modeled a continuum of synapse sizes by a log-normal distribution. A continuum is consistent with most neural network models of learning, in which synaptic strength is a continuously graded analog variable. Here, we show that synapse size, when restricted to synapses between L2/3 pyramidal cells, is well modeled by the sum of a binary variable and an analog variable drawn from a log-normal distribution. Two synapses sharing the same presynaptic and postsynaptic cells are known to be correlated in size. We show that the binary variables of the two synapses are highly correlated, while the analog variables are not. Binary variation could be the outcome of a Hebbian or other synaptic plasticity rule depending on activity signals that are relatively uniform across neuronal arbors, while analog variation may be dominated by other influences such as spontaneous dynamical fluctuations. We discuss the implications for the longstanding hypothesis that activity-dependent plasticity switches synapses between bistable states.
Dynamic Ca2+ signals reflect acute changes in membrane excitability, and also mediate signaling cascades in chronic processes. In both cases, chronic Ca2+ imaging is often desired, but challenged by the cytotoxicity intrinsic to calmodulin (CaM)-based GCaMP, a series of genetically-encoded Ca2+ indicators that have been widely applied. Here, we demonstrate the performance of GCaMP-X in chronic Ca2+ imaging of cortical neurons, where GCaMP-X by design is to eliminate the unwanted interactions between the conventional GCaMP and endogenous (apo)CaM-binding proteins. By expressing in adult mice at high levels over an extended time frame, GCaMP-X showed less damage and improved performance in two-photon imaging of sensory (whisker-deflection) responses or spontaneous Ca2+ fluctuations, in comparison with GCaMP. Chronic Ca2+ imaging of one month or longer was conducted for cultured cortical neurons expressing GCaMP-X, unveiling that spontaneous/local Ca2+ transients progressively developed into autonomous/global Ca2+ oscillations. Along with the morphological indices of neurite length and soma size, the major metrics of oscillatory Ca2+, including rate, amplitude and synchrony were also examined. Dysregulations of both neuritogenesis and Ca2+ oscillations became discernible around 2–3 weeks after virus injection or drug induction to express GCaMP in newborn or mature neurons, which were exacerbated by stronger or prolonged expression of GCaMP. In contrast, neurons expressing GCaMP-X were significantly less damaged or perturbed, altogether highlighting the unique importance of oscillatory Ca2+ to neural development and neuronal health. In summary, GCaMP-X provides a viable solution for Ca2+ imaging applications involving long-time and/or high-level expression of Ca2+ probes.