Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Logo for

Science 293 (5529): 514-517

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Absence of Junctional Glutamate Receptor Clusters in Drosophila Mutants Lacking Spontaneous Transmitter Release

Minoru Saitoe,12* Thomas L. Schwarz,3dagger Joy A. Umbach,4 Cameron B. Gundersen,4 Yoshiaki Kidokoro1

Little is known about the functional significance of spontaneous miniature synaptic potentials, which are the result of vesicular exocytosis at nerve terminals. Here, by using Drosophila mutants with specific defects in presynaptic function, we found that glutamate receptors clustered normally at neuromuscular junctions of mutants that retained spontaneous transmitter secretion but had lost the ability to release transmitter in response to action potentials. In contrast, receptor clustering was defective in mutants in which both spontaneous and evoked vesicle exocytosis were absent. Thus, spontaneous vesicle exocytosis appears to be tightly linked to the clustering of glutamate receptors during development.

1 Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Gunma University School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan.
2 Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8526, Japan.
3 Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4 Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: saitoe{at}

dagger    Present address: Division of Neuroscience, 300 Longwood Avenue, Enders, 208 Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Spontaneous transmitter release is critical for the induction of long-term and intermediate-term facilitation in Aplysia.
I. Jin, S. Puthanveettil, H. Udo, K. Karl, E. R. Kandel, and R. D. Hawkins (2012)
PNAS 109, 9131-9136
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Stathmin is Required for Stability of the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction.
E. R. Graf, H. M. Heerssen, C. M. Wright, G. W. Davis, and A. DiAntonio (2011)
J. Neurosci. 31, 15026-15034
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Characterization of postsynaptic Ca2+ signals at the Drosophila larval NMJ.
S. A. Desai and G. A. Lnenicka (2011)
J Neurophysiol 106, 710-721
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Cannabinoid receptor agonists potentiate action potential-independent release of GABA in the dentate gyrus through a CB1 receptor-independent mechanism.
M. E. Hofmann, C. Bhatia, and C. J. Frazier (2011)
J. Physiol. 589, 3801-3821
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Endocannabinoid-Dependent Homeostatic Regulation of Inhibitory Synapses by Miniature Excitatory Synaptic Activities.
S.-y. Zhang, M. Xu, Q.-l. Miao, M.-m. Poo, and X.-h. Zhang (2009)
J. Neurosci. 29, 13222-13231
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Differential Effects of Divalent Cations on Spontaneous and Evoked Glycine Release From Spinal Interneurons.
M. Maeda, E. Tanaka, K. Shoudai, K. Nonaka, N. Murayama, Y. Ito, and N. Akaike (2009)
J Neurophysiol 101, 1103-1113
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Action Potential-Independent and Nicotinic Receptor-Mediated Concerted Release of Multiple Quanta at Hippocampal CA3-Mossy Fiber Synapses.
G. Sharma, M. Grybko, and S. Vijayaraghavan (2008)
J. Neurosci. 28, 2563-2575
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Presynaptic establishment of the synaptic cleft extracellular matrix is required for post-synaptic differentiation.
J. Rohrbough, E. Rushton, E. Woodruff III, T. Fergestad, K. Vigneswaran, and K. Broadie (2007)
Genes & Dev. 21, 2607-2628
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Schwann Cell-Derived Factors Modulate Synaptic Activities at Developing Neuromuscular Synapses.
G. Cao and C.-P. Ko (2007)
J. Neurosci. 27, 6712-6722
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
G{alpha}q-Coupled Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors Enhance Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans Mating Behavior.
Y. Liu, B. LeBoeuf, and L. R. Garcia (2007)
J. Neurosci. 27, 1411-1421
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Presynaptic Ryanodine Receptors Are Required for Normal Quantal Size at the Caenorhabditis elegans Neuromuscular Junction.
Q. Liu, B. Chen, M. Yankova, D. K. Morest, E. Maryon, A. R. Hand, M. L. Nonet, and Z.-W. Wang (2005)
J. Neurosci. 25, 6745-6754
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Four Different Subunits Are Essential for Expressing the Synaptic Glutamate Receptor at Neuromuscular Junctions of Drosophila.
G. Qin, T. Schwarz, R. J. Kittel, A. Schmid, T. M. Rasse, D. Kappei, E. Ponimaskin, M. Heckmann, and S. J. Sigrist (2005)
J. Neurosci. 25, 3209-3218
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Drosophila Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor DmGluRA Regulates Activity-Dependent Synaptic Facilitation and Fine Synaptic Morphology.
L. Bogdanik, R. Mohrmann, A. Ramaekers, J. Bockaert, Y. Grau, K. Broadie, and M.-L. Parmentier (2004)
J. Neurosci. 24, 9105-9116
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Regulation of Dendritic Protein Synthesis by Miniature Synaptic Events.
M. A. Sutton, N. R. Wall, G. N. Aakalu, and E. M. Schuman (2004)
Science 304, 1979-1983
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Unconventional Myosin Myo1c Promotes Membrane Fusion in a Regulated Exocytic Pathway.
A. Bose, S. Robida, P. S. Furcinitti, A. Chawla, K. Fogarty, S. Corvera, and M. P. Czech (2004)
Mol. Cell. Biol. 24, 5447-5458
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Synapse disassembly.
B. A. Eaton and G. W. Davis (2003)
Genes & Dev. 17, 2075-2082
   Full Text »    PDF »
Experience-Dependent Strengthening of Drosophila Neuromuscular Junctions.
S. J. Sigrist, D. F. Reiff, P. R. Thiel, J. R. Steinert, and C. M. Schuster (2003)
J. Neurosci. 23, 6546-6556
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Molecular determinants of cysteine string protein modulation of N-type calcium channels.
L. C. Miller, L. A. Swayne, J. G. Kay, Z.-P. Feng, S. E. Jarvis, G. W. Zamponi, and J. E. A. Braun (2003)
J. Cell Sci. 116, 2967-2974
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Presynaptic Impairment of Synaptic Transmission in Drosophila Embryos Lacking Gs{alpha}.
D. Hou, K. Suzuki, W. J. Wolfgang, C. Clay, M. Forte, and Y. Kidokoro (2003)
J. Neurosci. 23, 5897-5905
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Nifedipine facilitates neurotransmitter release independently of calcium channels.
M. Hirasawa and Q. J. Pittman (2003)
PNAS 100, 6139-6144
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Mind-altering miniature neurotransmitter release?.
Y. Otsu and T. H. Murphy (2003)
PNAS 100, 5589-5590
   Full Text »    PDF »
Mutation and Activation of Galpha s Similarly Alters Pre- and Postsynaptic Mechanisms Modulating Neurotransmission.
R. B. Renden and K. Broadie (2003)
J Neurophysiol 89, 2620-2638
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
GABA Is Dispensable for the Formation of Junctional GABA Receptor Clusters in Caenorhabditis elegans.
C. Gally and J.-L. Bessereau (2003)
J. Neurosci. 23, 2591-2599
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Members of the synaptobrevin/vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) family in Drosophila are functionally interchangeable in vivo for neurotransmitter release and cell viability.
S. Bhattacharya, B. A. Stewart, B. A. Niemeyer, R. W. Burgess, B. D. McCabe, P. Lin, G. Boulianne, C. J. O'Kane, and T. L. Schwarz (2002)
PNAS 99, 13867-13872
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NEUROSCIENCE: The Meaning of a Mini.
P. Verstreken and H. J. Bellen (2001)
Science 293, 443-444
   Full Text »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882