An Aplysia Egr homolog is rapidly and persistently regulated by long-term sensitization training

Cyriac A, Holmes G, Lass J, Belchenko D, Calin-Jageman RJ, Calin-Jageman IE

Neurobiol Learn Mem 2013 May;102:43-51

PMID: 23567107


The Egr family of transcription factors plays a key role in long-term plasticity and memory in a number of vertebrate species. Here we identify and characterize ApEgr (GenBank: KC608221), an Egr homolog in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. ApEgr codes for a predicted 593-amino acid protein with the highly conserved trio of zinc-fingered domains in the C-terminus that characterizes the Egr family of transcription factors. Promoter analysis shows that the ApEgr protein selectively recognizes the GSG motif recognized by vertebrate Egrs. Like mammalian Egrs, ApEgr is constitutively expressed in a range of tissues, including the CNS. Moreover, expression of ApEgr is bi-directionally regulated by changes in neural activity. Of most interest, the association between ApEgr function and memory may be conserved in Aplysia, as we observe rapid and long-lasting up-regulation of expression after long-term sensitization training. Taken together, our results suggest that Egrs may have memory functions that are conserved from mammals to mollusks.

Harmonin enhances voltage-dependent facilitation of Cav1.3 channels and synchronous exocytosis in mouse inner hair cells

Gregory FD, Pangrsic T, Calin-Jageman IE, Moser T, Lee A

J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2013 Jul;591(Pt 13):3253-69

PMID: 23613530


Cav1.3 channels mediate Ca(2+) influx that triggers exocytosis of glutamate at cochlear inner hair cell (IHC) synapses. Harmonin is a PDZ-domain-containing protein that interacts with the C-terminus of the Cav1.3 α1 subunit (α11.3) and controls cell surface Cav1.3 levels by promoting ubiquitin-dependent proteosomal degradation. However, PDZ-domain-containing proteins have diverse functions and regulate other Cav1.3 properties, which could collectively influence presynaptic transmitter release. Here, we report that harmonin binding to the α11.3 distal C-terminus (dCT) enhances voltage-dependent facilitation (VDF) of Cav1.3 currents both in transfected HEK293T cells and in mouse inner hair cells. In HEK293T cells, this effect of harmonin was greater for Cav1.3 channels containing the auxiliary Cav β1 than with the β2 auxiliary subunit. Cav1.3 channels lacking the α11.3 dCT were insensitive to harmonin modulation. Moreover, the ‘deaf-circler’ dfcr mutant form of harmonin, which does not interact with the α11.3 dCT, did not promote VDF. In mature IHCs from mice expressing the dfcr harmonin mutant, Cav1.3 VDF was less than in control IHCs. This difference was not observed between control and dfcr IHCs prior to hearing onset. Membrane capacitance recordings from dfcr IHCs revealed a role for harmonin in synchronous exocytosis and in increasing the efficiency of Ca(2+) influx for triggering exocytosis. Collectively, our results indicate a multifaceted presynaptic role of harmonin in IHCs in regulating Cav1.3 Ca(2+) channels and exocytosis.

Transcriptional changes following long-term sensitization training and in vivo serotonin exposure in Aplysia californica

Bonnick K, Bayas K, Belchenko D, Cyriac A, Dove M, Lass J, McBride B, Calin-Jageman IE, Calin-Jageman RJ

PLoS ONE 2012;7(10):e47378

PMID: 23056638


We used Aplysia californica to compare the transcriptional changes evoked by long-term sensitization training and by a treatment meant to mimic this training, in vivo exposure to serotonin. We focused on 5 candidate plasticity genes which are rapidly up-regulated in the Aplysia genus by in vivo serotonin treatment, but which have not yet been tested for regulation during sensitization: CREB1, matrilin, antistasin, eIF3e, and BAT1 homolog. CREB1 was rapidly up-regulated by both treatments, but the regulation following training was transient, falling back to control levels 24 hours after training. This suggests some caution in interpreting the proposed role of CREB1 in consolidating long-term sensitization memory. Both matrilin and eIF3e were up-regulated by in vivo serotonin but not by long-term sensitization training. This suggests that in vivo serotonin may produce generalized transcriptional effects that are not specific to long-term sensitization learning. Finally, neither treatment produced regulation of antistasin or BAT1 homolog, transcripts regulated by in vivo serotonin in the closely related Aplysia kurodai. This suggests either that these transcripts are not regulated by experience, or that transcriptional mechanisms of memory may vary within the Aplysia genus.

Glutamate transporters EAAT4 and EAAT5 are expressed in vestibular hair cells and calyx endings

Dalet A, Bonsacquet J, Gaboyard-Niay S, Calin-Jageman I, Chidavaenzi RL, Venteo S, Desmadryl G, Goldberg JM, Lysakowski A, Chabbert C

PLoS ONE 2012;7(9):e46261

PMID: 23049999


Glutamate is the neurotransmitter released from hair cells. Its clearance from the synaptic cleft can shape neurotransmission and prevent excitotoxicity. This may be particularly important in the inner ear and in other sensory organs where there is a continually high rate of neurotransmitter release. In the case of most cochlear and type II vestibular hair cells, clearance involves the diffusion of glutamate to supporting cells, where it is taken up by EAAT1 (GLAST), a glutamate transporter. A similar mechanism cannot work in vestibular type I hair cells as the presence of calyx endings separates supporting cells from hair-cell synapses. Because of this arrangement, it has been conjectured that a glutamate transporter must be present in the type I hair cell, the calyx ending, or both. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, we demonstrate that a glutamate-activated anion current, attributable to a high-affinity glutamate transporter and blocked by DL-TBOA, is expressed in type I, but not in type II hair cells. Molecular investigations reveal that EAAT4 and EAAT5, two glutamate transporters that could underlie the anion current, are expressed in both type I and type II hair cells and in calyx endings. EAAT4 has been thought to be expressed almost exclusively in the cerebellum and EAAT5 in the retina. Our results show that these two transporters have a wider distribution in mice. This is the first demonstration of the presence of transporters in hair cells and provides one of the few examples of EAATs in presynaptic elements.

Harmonin inhibits presynaptic Cav1.3 Ca²⁺ channels in mouse inner hair cells

Gregory FD, Bryan KE, Pangršič T, Calin-Jageman IE, Moser T, Lee A

Nat. Neurosci. 2011 Sep;14(9):1109-11

PMID: 21822269


Harmonin is a scaffolding protein that is required for normal mechanosensory function in hair cells. We found a presynaptic association of harmonin and Ca(v)1.3 Ca(2+) channels at the mouse inner hair cell synapse, which limits channel availability through a ubiquitin-dependent pathway.

Molecular microdomains in a sensory terminal, the vestibular calyx ending

Lysakowski A, Gaboyard-Niay S, Calin-Jageman I, Chatlani S, Price SD, Eatock RA

J. Neurosci. 2011 Jul;31(27):10101-14

PMID: 21734302


Many primary vestibular afferents form large cup-shaped postsynaptic terminals (calyces) that envelope the basolateral surfaces of type I hair cells. The calyceal terminals both respond to glutamate released from ribbon synapses in the type I cells and initiate spikes that propagate to the afferent’s central terminals in the brainstem. The combination of synaptic and spike initiation functions in these unique sensory endings distinguishes them from the axonal nodes of central neurons and peripheral nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, which have provided most of our information about nodal specializations. We show that rat vestibular calyces express an unusual mix of voltage-gated Na and K channels and scaffolding, cell adhesion, and extracellular matrix proteins, which may hold the ion channels in place. Protein expression patterns form several microdomains within the calyx membrane: a synaptic domain facing the hair cell, the heminode abutting the first myelinated internode, and one or two intermediate domains. Differences in the expression and localization of proteins between afferent types and zones may contribute to known variations in afferent physiology.

NeuronBank: A Tool for Cataloging Neuronal Circuitry

Katz PS, Calin-Jageman R, Dhawan A, Frederick C, Guo S, Dissanayaka R, Hiremath N, Ma W, Shen X, Wang HC, Yang H, Prasad S, Sunderraman R, Zhu Y

Front Syst Neurosci 2010;4:9

PMID: 20428500


The basic unit of any nervous system is the neuron. Therefore, understanding the operation of nervous systems ultimately requires an inventory of their constituent neurons and synaptic connectivity, which form neural circuits. The presence of uniquely identifiable neurons or classes of neurons in many invertebrates has facilitated the construction of cellular-level connectivity diagrams that can be generalized across individuals within a species. Homologous neurons can also be recognized across species. Here we describe, a web-based tool that we are developing for cataloging, searching, and analyzing neuronal circuitry within and across species. Information from a single species is represented in an individual branch of NeuronBank. Users can search within a branch or perform queries across branches to look for similarities in neuronal circuits across species. The branches allow for an extensible ontology so that additional characteristics can be added as knowledge grows. Each entry in NeuronBank generates a unique accession ID, allowing it to be easily cited. There is also an automatic link to a Wiki page allowing an encyclopedic explanation of the entry. All of the 44 previously published neurons plus one previously unpublished neuron from the mollusc, Tritonia diomedea, have been entered into a branch of NeuronBank as have 4 previously published neurons from the mollusc, Melibe leonina. The ability to organize information about neuronal circuits will make this information more accessible, ultimately aiding research on these important models.

Ca(v)1 L-type Ca2+ channel signaling complexes in neurons

Calin-Jageman I, Lee A

J. Neurochem. 2008 May;105(3):573-83

PMID: 18266933


Ca(v)1 L-type Ca2+ channels play crucial and diverse roles in the nervous system. The pre- and post-synaptic functions of Ca(v)1 channels not only depend on their intrinsic biophysical properties but also their dynamic regulation by a host of cellular influences. These include protein kinases and phosphatases, G-protein coupled receptors, scaffolding proteins, and Ca2+-binding proteins. The cytoplasmic domains of the main pore forming alpha(1) subunit of Ca(v)1 offer a number of binding sites for these modulators, permitting fast and localized regulation of Ca2+ entry. Through effects on Ca(v)1 gating, localization, and coupling to effectors, protein modulators are efficiently positioned to adjust Ca(v)1 Ca2+ signals that control neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and gene expression.

Altering cAMP levels within a central pattern generator modifies or disrupts rhythmic motor output

Clemens S, Calin-Jageman R, Sakurai A, Katz PS

J. Comp. Physiol. A Neuroethol. Sens. Neural. Behav. Physiol. 2007 Dec;193(12):1265-71

PMID: 17972082


Cyclic AMP is a second messenger that has been implicated in the neuromodulation of rhythmically active motor patterns. Here, we tested whether manipulating cAMP affects swim motor pattern generation in the mollusc, Tritonia diomedea. Inhibiting adenylyl cyclase (AC) with 9-cyclopentyladenine (9-CPA) slowed or stopped the swim motor pattern. Inhibiting phosphodiesterase with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) or applying dibutyryl-cAMP (dB-cAMP) disrupted the swim motor pattern, as did iontophoresing cAMP into the central pattern generator neuron C2. Additionally, during wash-in, IBMX sometimes temporarily produced extended or spontaneous swim motor patterns. Photolysis of caged cAMP in C2 after initiation of the swim motor pattern inhibited subsequent bursting. These results suggest that cAMP levels can dynamically modulate swim motor pattern generation, possibly shaping the output of the central pattern generator on a cycle-by-cycle basis.

Ca2+-binding proteins tune Ca2+-feedback to Cav1.3 channels in mouse auditory hair cells

Cui G, Meyer AC, Calin-Jageman I, Neef J, Haeseleer F, Moser T, Lee A

J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2007 Dec;585(Pt 3):791-803

PMID: 17947313


Sound coding at the auditory inner hair cell synapse requires graded changes in neurotransmitter release, triggered by sustained activation of presynaptic Ca(v)1.3 voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. Central to their role in this regard, Ca(v)1.3 channels in inner hair cells show little Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation, a fast negative feedback regulation by incoming Ca(2+) ions, which depends on calmodulin association with the Ca(2+) channel alpha(1) subunit. Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation characterizes nearly all voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels including Ca(v)1.3 in other excitable cells. The mechanism underlying the limited autoregulation of Ca(v)1.3 in inner hair cells remains a mystery. Previously, we established calmodulin-like Ca(2+)-binding proteins in the brain and retina (CaBPs) as essential modulators of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. Here, we demonstrate that CaBPs differentially modify Ca(2+) feedback to Ca(v)1.3 channels in transfected cells and explore their significance for Ca(v)1.3 regulation in inner hair cells. Of multiple CaBPs detected in inner hair cells (CaBP1, CaBP2, CaBP4 and CaBP5), CaBP1 most efficiently blunts Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation of Ca(v)1.3. CaBP1 and CaBP4 both interact with calmodulin-binding sequences in Ca(v)1.3, but CaBP4 more weakly inhibits Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation than CaBP1. Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation is marginally greater in inner hair cells from CaBP4(-/-) than from wild-type mice, yet CaBP4(-/-) mice are not hearing-impaired. In contrast to CaBP4, CaBP1 is strongly localized at the presynaptic ribbon synapse of adult inner hair cells both in wild-type and CaBP4(-/-) mice and therefore is positioned to modulate native Ca(v)1.3 channels. Our results reveal unexpected diversity in the strengths of CaBPs as Ca(2+) channel modulators, and implicate CaBP1 rather than CaBP4 in conferring the anomalous slow inactivation of Ca(v)1.3 Ca(2+) currents required for auditory transmission.