Miniature Neurotransmission Regulates Drosophila Synaptic Structural Maturation

Ben Jiwon Choi, Wendy L. Imlach, Wei Wei Jiao, Verena Wolfram, Ying Wu, Mark Grbic, Carolina Cela, Richard A. Baines, Michael N. Nitabach, Brian D. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Miniature neurotransmission is the transsynaptic process where single synaptic vesicles spontaneously released from presynaptic neurons induce miniature postsynaptic potentials. Since their discovery over 60 years ago, miniature events have been found at every chemical synapse studied. However, the invivo necessity for these small-amplitude events has remained enigmatic. Here, we show that miniature neurotransmission is required for the normal structural maturation of Drosophila glutamatergic synapses in a developmental role that is not shared by evoked neurotransmission. Conversely, we find that increasing miniature events is sufficient to induce synaptic terminal growth. We show that miniature neurotransmission acts locally at terminals to regulate synapse maturation via a Trio guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) and Rac1 GTPase molecular signaling pathway. Our results establish that miniature neurotransmission, a universal but often-overlooked feature of synapses, has unique and essential functions invivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-634
Number of pages17
JournalNeuron
Volume82
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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