Climbing fiber activity reduces 14-3-3-θ regulated GABA(A) receptor phosphorylation in cerebellar Purkinje cells.

PMID 22119642


Cerebellar adaptive plasticity regulates posture and movement in response to changing conditions of sensory stimulation. Study of adaptive plasticity of cerebellar circuitry in vitro confines experimental interest to mechanisms with a time scale of minutes. However, cerebellar plasticity, measured behaviorally or electrophysiologically in vivo, occurs over a time scale of tens of minutes and hours. Here we investigate how optokinetically-evoked increases in climbing fiber activity influence expression of key subcellular signaling proteins that regulate the accumulation of GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) in the cytoplasm of Purkinje cells and their insertion into the plasma membrane. We used long-term horizontal optokinetic stimulation (HOKS) to activate climbing fibers that project to the flocculus of mice. Although long-term increases in climbing fiber activity in vivo do not alter the expression of any of the subunits of GABA(A)Rs expressed by Purkinje cells, they do influence other subcellular events such as transcription and interaction of signaling proteins. Specifically, increased climbing fiber activity evoked decreased expression of 14-3-3-θ, reduced serine phosphorylation of GABA(A)g(2), and reduced the interaction of 14-3-3-θ with protein kinase C-γ (PKC-γ). Knockdown of 14-3-3-θ in vivo reduced the serine phosphorylation of GABA(A)γ(2). Conversely, treatment of cerebellar lysates with phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA), a PKC activator, increased serine phosphorylation of GABA(A)γ(2). Knockdown of 14-3-3-θ or PKC-γ in N2a cells in vitro reduced serine phosphorylation of GABA(A)γ(2) and reduced its cell-surface expression. We interpret these data to mean that a prolonged increase in climbing fiber activity decreases the cell-surface expression of GABA(A)Rs in Purkinje cells and thereby reduces their sensitivity to GABAergic inhibition. This provides a homeostatic mechanism by which Purkinje cells become less sensitive to stellate cell inhibition also evoked by climbing fiber activity.