Recent studies suggest that stimulus-evoked and spontaneous neurotransmitter release processes are mechanistically distinct. Here we targeted the non-canonical synaptic vesicle SNAREs Vps10p-tail-interactor-1a (vti1a) and vesicle-associated membrane protein 7 (VAMP7) to specifically inhibit spontaneous release events and probe whether these events signal independently of evoked release to the postsynaptic neuron. We found that loss of vti1a and VAMP7 impairs spontaneous high-frequency glutamate release and augments unitary event amplitudes by reducing postsynaptic eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K) activity subsequent to the reduction in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) activity. Presynaptic, but not postsynaptic, loss of vti1a and VAMP7 occludes NMDAR antagonist-induced synaptic potentiation in an intact circuit, confirming the role of these vesicular SNAREs in setting synaptic strength. Collectively, these results demonstrate that spontaneous neurotransmission signals independently of stimulus-evoked release and highlight its role as a key regulator of postsynaptic efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)