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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Vesicular glutamate transporters VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 define two subsets of unipolar brush cells in organotypic cultures of mouse vestibulocerebellum.

Different isoforms of a vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT) mediate glutamate uptake into synaptic vesicles of excitatory neurons. There is agreement that the VGLUTs are differentially expressed in brain, and that two isoforms, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, are localized to excitatory axon terminals in the cerebellar cortex. While granule cells express solely VGLUT1, there is no report about the VGLUT(s) of the unipolar brush cell (UBC), the second type of glutamatergic interneuron residing in the cerebellar granular layer. In the mouse, UBCs are particularly numerous in the uvula (lobule IX) and nodulus (lobule X). These folia contain two distinct subsets of UBCs: one kind expresses the calcium-binding protein calretinin (CR), and the other kind expresses the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) 1alpha. UBCs give rise to an extensive system of intrinsic mossy fibers (MF), whose terminals innervate granule cells and other UBCs, altogether similar to those formed by the extrinsic MFs. The presence of both extrinsic and intrinsic MFs in the vestibulocerebellum makes it difficult to determine which type of VGLUT is contained in MFs formed by the UBC axons. Hence, the nodulus was isolated from sagittal cerebellar slices from postnatal day 10 mice, and cultured for 15-20 days in vitro. Double immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy showed that mossy terminals of CR-positive (CR(+)) UBCs were immunoreactive for VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, while mossy terminals of mGluR1alpha-positive (mGluR1alpha(+)) UBCs were provided with VGLUT1 only. Moreover, CR(+) dendritic brushes were contacted by mossy terminals provided with both transporters, while mGluR1alpha(+) dendritic brushes were contacted by mossy terminals immunopositive for VGLUT1 and immunonegative for VGLUT2. These data indicate that the two UBC subsets use different modalities of vesicular glutamate storage and form separate networks. We consider it possible that expressions of CR with VGLUT1/VGLUT2 and mGluR1alpha(+) with VGLUT1 in the two subsets of vestibulocerebellar UBCs are determined by specific vestibular inputs, carried by groups of primary and/or secondary vestibular afferents.[1]


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