Elfn1 Regulates Target-Specific Release Probability at CA1-Interneuron Synapses

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Science  04 Oct 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222482

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Although synaptic transmission may be unidirectional, the establishment of synaptic connections with specific properties can involve bidirectional signaling. Pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus form functionally distinct synapses onto two types of interneurons. Excitatory synapses onto oriens-lacunosum molecular (OLM) interneurons are facilitating and have a low release probability, whereas synapses onto parvalbumin interneurons are depressing and have a high release probability. Here, we show that the Extracellular Leucine-rich repeat Fibronectin containing 1 (Elfn1) protein is selectively expressed by OLM interneurons and regulates presynaptic release probability to direct the formation of highly facilitating Pyramidal-OLM synapses. Thus, postsynaptic expression of Elfn1 in OLM interneurons regulates presynaptic release probability, which confers target-specific synaptic properties to pyramidal cell axons.

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