Postsynaptic GluA3 subunits are required for appropriate assembly of AMPA receptor GluA2 and GluA4 subunits on mammalian cochlear afferent synapses and for presynaptic ribbon modiolar-pillar morphological distinctions

  1. Mark A Rutherford
  2. Atri Bhattacharyya
  3. Maolei Xiao
  4. Hou-Ming Cai
  5. Indra Pal
  6. Maria Eulalia Rubio  Is a corresponding author
  1. Washington University in St. Louis, United States
  2. University of Pittsburgh, United States

Abstract

Cochlear sound encoding depends on α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors (AMPARs), but reliance on specific pore-forming subunits is unknown. With 5-week-old male C57BL/6J Gria3 knockout mice (i.e., subunit GluA3KO) we determined cochlear function, synapse ultrastructure and AMPAR molecular anatomy at ribbon synapses between inner hair cells (IHCs) and spiral ganglion neurons. GluA3KO and wild-type (GluA3WT) mice reared in ambient sound pressure level (SPL) of 55-75 dB had similar auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds, wave-1 amplitudes and latencies. Postsynaptic densities (PSDs), presynaptic ribbons, and synaptic vesicle sizes were all larger on the modiolar side of the IHCs from GluA3WT, but not GluA3KO, demonstrating GluA3 is required for modiolar-pillar synapse differentiation. Presynaptic ribbons juxtaposed with postsynaptic GluA2/4 subunits were similar in quantity, however, lone ribbons were more frequent in GluA3KO and GluA2-lacking synapses were observed only in GluA3KO. GluA2 and GluA4 immunofluorescence volumes were smaller on the pillar side than the modiolar side in GluA3KO, despite increased pillar-side PSD size. Overall, the fluorescent puncta volumes of GluA2 and GluA4 were smaller in GluA3KO than GluA3WT. However, GluA3KO contained less GluA2 and greater GluA4 immunofluorescence intensity relative to GluA3WT (3-fold greater mean GluA4:GluA2 ratio). Thus, GluA3 is essential in development, as germline disruption of Gria3 caused anatomical synapse pathology before cochlear output became symptomatic by ABR. We propose the hearing loss in older male GluA3KO mice results from progressive synaptopathy evident in 5-week-old mice as decreased abundance of GluA2 subunits and an increase in GluA2-lacking, GluA4-monomeric Ca2+-permeable AMPARs.

Data availability

All data analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Mark A Rutherford

    Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University in St. Louis, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2627-6254
  2. Atri Bhattacharyya

    Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University in St. Louis, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Maolei Xiao

    Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University in St. Louis, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Hou-Ming Cai

    Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Indra Pal

    Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Maria Eulalia Rubio

    Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    For correspondence
    mer@pitt.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3536-6013

Funding

National Institutes of Health (DC013048)

  • Maria Eulalia Rubio

National Institutes of Health (DC14712)

  • Mark A Rutherford

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

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 (#21100176 and #22030822) of the University of Pittsburgh. The protocol was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of the University of Pittsburgh (Permit Number: D16-00118). All auditory brainstem recordings were performed under isoflurane anesthesia. All the transcardial perfusions were performed under ketamine and xylazine anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Catherine Emily Carr, University of Maryland, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 10, 2022
  2. Accepted: January 16, 2023
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 17, 2023 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2023, Rutherford 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.

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  1. Mark A Rutherford
  2. Atri Bhattacharyya
  3. Maolei Xiao
  4. Hou-Ming Cai
  5. Indra Pal
  6. Maria Eulalia Rubio
(2023)
Postsynaptic GluA3 subunits are required for appropriate assembly of AMPA receptor GluA2 and GluA4 subunits on mammalian cochlear afferent synapses and for presynaptic ribbon modiolar-pillar morphological distinctions
eLife 12:e80950.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.80950

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