Postsynaptic kinase signaling underlies inhibitory synaptic plasticity in the lateral superior olive

Vibhakar C. Kotak, Dan H. Sanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the auditory system, inhibitory transmission from the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) to neurons of the lateral superior olivary nucleus (LSO) undergoes activity-dependent long-term depression, and may be associated with developmental elimination of these synapses [Sanes DH, Friauf E (2000). Review: development and influence of inhibition in the laterial superior olivary nucleus. Hear Res 147: 46-58]. Although GABAB receptor activation and postsynaptic free calcium are implicated in this depression, little is known about intracellular signaling mechanisms in this or other forms of inhibitory plasticity. In this study, we asked whether the calcium dependency of inhibitory depression was associated with the activation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), protein kinase C (PKC), and/or cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). Whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings were obtained from LSO neurons in a brain slice preparation, permitting for the selective pharmacologic manipulation of individual postsynaptic LSO neurons. Inclusion of a CaMKII antagonist (KN-62) in the internal pipet solution blocked inhibitory synaptic depression. A second CaMKII inhibitor (auto-camtide peptide fragment) significantly decreased inhibitory depression. Inclusion of a specific antagonist of protein kinase C (PKC fragment 19-36) in the internal recording solution also blocked inhibitory depression. To test involvement of a cAMP-dependent intracellular cascade, two different manipulations were performed. Inclusion of PKA antagonists (Rp-cAMPS or a cAMP dependent protein kinase inhibitor peptide) prevented inhibitory depression. In contrast, when a nonhydrolyzable cAMP analog (Sp-cAMPS) was permitted to enter the postsynaptic cell, the MNTB-evoked IPSCs became depressed in the absence of low-frequency stimulation. Thus, three key postsynaptic kinases, CaMKII, PKC, and PKA, participate in the activity-dependent depression of inhibitory MNTB-LSO synapses during postnatal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002


  • Auditory
  • CaMKII
  • Development
  • Inhibition
  • LSO
  • Long-term depression
  • MNTB
  • PKA
  • PKC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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