Mar 9, 2019

Local resources of polyribosomes and SER promote synapse enlargement and spine clustering after long-term potentiation in adult rat hippocampus

Scientific Reports
Michael A ChirilloKristen M Harris


Synapse clustering facilitates circuit integration, learning, and memory. Long-term potentiation (LTP) of mature neurons produces synapse enlargement balanced by fewer spines, raising the question of how clusters form despite this homeostatic regulation of total synaptic weight. Three-dimensional reconstruction from serial section electron microscopy (3DEM) revealed the shapes and distributions of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) and polyribosomes, subcellular resources important for synapse enlargement and spine outgrowth. Compared to control stimulation, synapses were enlarged two hours after LTP on resource-rich spines containing polyribosomes (4% larger than control) or SER (15% larger). SER in spines shifted from a single tubule to complex spine apparatus after LTP. Negligible synapse enlargement (0.6%) occurred on resource-poor spines lacking SER and polyribosomes. Dendrites were divided into discrete synaptic clusters surrounded by asynaptic segments. Spine density was lowest in clusters having only resource-poor spines, especially following LTP. In contrast, resource-rich spines preserved neighboring resource-poor spines and formed larger clusters with elevated total synaptic weight following LTP. These clusters also ...Continue Reading

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