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Postnatal loss of P/Q-type channels confined to rhombic-lip-derived neurons alters synaptic transmission at the parallel fiber to purkinje cell synapse and replicates genomic Cacna1a mutation phenotype of ataxia and seizures in mice.

Ataxia, episodic dyskinesia, and thalamocortical seizures are associated with an inherited loss of P/Q-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channel function. P/Q-type channels are widely expressed throughout the neuraxis, obscuring identification of the critical networks underlying these complex neurological disorders. We showed recently that the conditional postnatal loss of P/Q-type channels in cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) in mice (purky) leads to these aberrant phenotypes, suggesting that intrinsic alteration in PC output is a sufficient pathogenic factor for disease initiation. The question arises whether P/Q-type channel deletion confined to a single upstream cerebellar synapse might induce the pathophysiological abnormality of genomically inherited P/Q-type channel disorders. PCs integrate two excitatory inputs, climbing fibers from inferior olive and parallel fibers (PFs) from granule cells (GCs) that receive mossy fiber (MF) input derived from precerebellar nuclei. In this study, we introduce a new mouse model with a selective knock-out of P/Q-type channels in rhombic-lip-derived neurons including the PF and MF pathways (quirky). We found that in quirky mice, PF-PC synaptic transmission is reduced during low-frequency stimulation. Using focal light stimulation of GCs that express optogenetic light-sensitive channels, channelrhodopsin-2, we found that modulation of PC firing via GC input is reduced in quirky mice. Phenotypic analysis revealed that quirky mice display ataxia, dyskinesia, and absence epilepsy. These results suggest that developmental alteration of patterned input confined to only one of the main afferent cerebellar excitatory synaptic pathways has a significant role in generating the neurological phenotype associated with the global genomic loss of P/Q-type channel function.

Pubmed ID: 23516282 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Ataxia | Calcium Channels, N-Type | Calcium Channels, P-Type | Calcium Channels, Q-Type | Cerebellum | Electroencephalography | Epilepsy, Absence | Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Knockout | Mice, Neurologic Mutants | Phenotype | Purkinje Cells | Synaptic Transmission | Videotape Recording

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