LKB1 Regulates Mitochondria-Dependent Presynaptic Calcium Clearance and Neurotransmitter Release Properties at Excitatory Synapses along Cortical Axons

Kwon, Seok-Kyu; Sando, III, Richard; Lewis, Jr., Tommy Len; Hirabayashi, Yusuke; Maximov, Anton; Polleux, Franck

Individual synapses vary significantly in their neurotransmitter release properties, which underlie complex information processing in neural circuits. Presynaptic Ca²⁺ homeostasis plays a critical role in specifying neurotransmitter release properties, but the mechanisms regulating synapse-specific Ca²⁺ homeostasis in the mammalian brain are still poorly understood. Using electrophysiology and genetically encoded Ca²⁺ sensors targeted to the mitochondrial matrix or to presynaptic boutons of cortical pyramidal neurons, we demonstrate that the presence or absence of mitochondria at presynaptic boutons dictates neurotransmitter release properties through Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter (MCU)-dependent Ca²⁺ clearance. We demonstrate that the serine/threonine kinase LKB1 regulates MCU expression, mitochondria-dependent Ca²⁺ clearance, and thereby, presynaptic release properties. Re-establishment of MCU-dependent mitochondrial Ca²⁺ uptake at glutamatergic synapses rescues the altered neurotransmitter release properties characterizing LKB1-null cortical axons. Our results provide novel insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby mitochondria control neurotransmitter release properties in a bouton-specific way through presynaptic Ca²⁺ clearance.


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August 26, 2016