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Edited by Hee-Sup Shin, Center for Cognition and Sociality, Institute for Basic Science, Daejeon, South Korea; received August 19, 2021; accepted December 5, 2021
This study demonstrates a universal synaptic mechanism responsible for tuning GABAergic neural circuit strength and turnover. These observations are relevant to the issue of neural circuit dynamics, which have only been investigated in certain limited contexts, particularly at a subset of glutamatergic neural circuits. Our work provides compelling evidence to support a crucial and unique physiological role for amyloid precursor protein (APP) in shaping GABAergic neural circuits. Our unequivocal demonstration of the physiological significance of MDGA1–APP complexes at specific hippocampal GABAergic neural circuits enables us to propose a conceptual framework that adds a striking twist to our understanding of the organization of mammalian inhibitory synapses in addition to unmasking a previously unidentified physiological role for APP proteins.
Balanced synaptic inhibition, controlled by multiple synaptic adhesion proteins, is critical for proper brain function. MDGA1 (meprin, A-5 protein, and receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase mu [MAM] domain-containing glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor protein 1) suppresses synaptic inhibition in mammalian neurons, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying MDGA1-mediated negative regulation of GABAergic synapses remain unresolved. Here, we show that the MDGA1 MAM domain directly interacts with the extension domain of amyloid precursor protein (APP). Strikingly, MDGA1-mediated synaptic disinhibition requires the MDGA1 MAM domain and is prominent at distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Down-regulation of APP in presynaptic GABAergic interneurons specifically suppressed GABAergic, but not glutamatergic, synaptic transmission strength and inputs onto both the somatic and dendritic compartments of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Moreover, APP deletion manifested differential effects in somatostatin- and parvalbumin-positive interneurons in the hippocampal CA1, resulting in distinct alterations in inhibitory synapse numbers, transmission, and excitability. The infusion of MDGA1 MAM protein mimicked postsynaptic MDGA1 gain-of-function phenotypes that involve the presence of presynaptic APP. The overexpression of MDGA1 wild type or MAM, but not MAM-deleted MDGA1, in the hippocampal CA1 impaired novel object-recognition memory in mice. Thus, our results establish unique roles of APP–MDGA1 complexes in hippocampal neural circuits, providing unprecedented insight into trans-synaptic mechanisms underlying differential tuning of neuronal compartment-specific synaptic inhibition.
↵1J. Kim and S. Kim contributed equally to this work.
↵2H.K. and I.-W.H. contributed equally to this work.
Author contributions: W.C.O. and J. Ko designed research; J. Kim, S. Kim, H.K., I.-W.H., S.B., S. Karki, D.K., R.O., G.B., J.Y.K., and W.C.O. performed research; D.K. and J.Y.K. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; J. Kim, S. Kim, H.K., I.-W.H., S.B., S. Karki, R.O., J.Y.K., T.K., J.W.U., W.C.O., and J. Ko analyzed data; and W.C.O. and J. Ko wrote the paper.
The authors declare no competing interest.
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