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Capabilities of neurexins in the chick ciliary ganglion.

Transcellular interactions between neuroligins (NL) and beta-neurexin have been widely documented to promote maturation and function of both glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. Recently it has been shown that neuroligin-1 plays a similar role at nicotinic synapses on chick ciliary ganglion neurons in culture, acting from the postsynaptic side to enhance transmitter release from adjacent cholinergic terminals and boost nicotinic input to the cells. We show here that the ciliary ganglion expresses three forms of neuroligin as well as two beta-neurexins and an alpha-neurexin. Overexpression of the beta-neurexins, but not the alpha-neurexin, can induce clustering of endogenous PSD-95 in adjacent neurons, presumably engaging neuroligin in the postsynaptic cell. The trans effects of beta-neurexins are selective; though both alpha3- and alpha7-containing nicotinic receptors are available on opposing cells, beta-neurexins induce coclustering of alpha3- but not alpha7-containing nicotinic receptors. Overexpression of other putative synaptogenic molecules, including SynCAM and L1, are ineffective at trans-clustering of PSD-95 on adjacent neurons. The beta-neurexins also exert a cis effect, coclustering presynaptic markers along with beta-neurexin in neurites juxtaposed to postsynaptic proteins, consistent with organizing presynaptic components as well. Striated muscle, the synaptic target of ciliary neurons in vivo, also expresses neuroligin. The results demonstrate that NL and neurexins are present at multiple sites in nicotinic cholinergic pathways and suggest the possibility of both cis- and trans-interactions to influence nicotinic signaling.

Pubmed ID: 18161851 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal | Cells, Cultured | Chick Embryo | Ganglia, Parasympathetic | Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental | Green Fluorescent Proteins | Membrane Proteins | Nerve Tissue Proteins | Neurons | Presynaptic Terminals | Receptors, Nicotinic | Transfection | alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS12601
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS35469

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