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

Ambient GABA constrains the strength of GABAergic synapses at Cajal-Retzius cells in the developing visual cortex.

At early stages of brain development, GABA plays a dual role. It fulfills important trophic functions and provides a major excitatory drive for the immature neuronal network. Here, we investigated whether GABA itself can limit the strength of excitatory GABAergic synapses on Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells in sagittal slices from the mouse visual cortex. (2S)-3-[[(1S)-1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]amino-2-hydroxypropyl](phenylmethyl)phosphinic acid (CGP55845), a specific GABAB receptor (GABABR) blocker, increased the frequency of spontaneous Ca2+ transients and spontaneous and miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) but did not affect mIPSC amplitudes or kinetics. CGP55845 significantly increased evoked IPSC (eIPSC) amplitudes and decreased the paired-pulse ratio (PPR). Baclofen, a specific GABABR agonist, produced opposite effects. The size of the readily releasable pool was not affected by these GABABR modulators. The same CGP55845 actions were observed at physiological temperatures, but they were abolished after glutamate decarboxylase block with 3-mercaptopropionic acid (3-MP). These results indicate that presynaptic GABABRs dynamically regulate GABA release probability. SNAP-5114, a specific GABA transporter-2/3 (GAT-2/3) blocker, enhanced mIPSC frequencies, decreased PPR, and increased eIPSC amplitudes without changing eIPSC kinetics. These effects were blocked by CGP55845 and 3-MP. NO-711, a specific GAT-1 blocker, prolonged eIPSC decay and decreased eIPSC/mIPSC amplitudes. These NO-711-mediated effects were not sensitive to CGP55845 and 3-MP. We conclude that the strength of GABAergic inputs to CR cells is constrained by GABABRs that are persistently activated by ambient GABA. The latter is also provided by GAT-2/3 operating in the reversed mode. Presynaptic GAT-1 functions in the uptake mode and possibly provides GABA for presynaptic vesicle filling.[1]


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