Neuroligin 2 Is Expressed in Synapses Established by Cholinergic Cells in the Mouse Brain

Virág T. Takács, T. Freund, G. Nyíri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuroligin 2 is a postsynaptic protein that plays a critical role in the maturation and proper function of GABAergic synapses. Previous studies demonstrated that deletion of neuroligin 2 impaired GABAergic synaptic transmission, whereas its overexpression caused increased inhibition, which suggest that its presence strongly influences synaptic function. Interestingly, the overexpressing transgenic mouse line showed increased anxiety-like behavior and other behavioral phenotypes, not easily explained by an otherwise strengthened GABAergic transmission. This suggested that other, non-GABAergic synapses may also express neuroligin 2. Here, we tested the presence of neuroligin 2 at synapses established by cholinergic neurons in the mouse brain using serial electron microscopic sections double labeled for neuroligin 2 and choline acetyltransferase. We found that besides GABAergic synapses, neuroligin 2 is also present in the postsynaptic membrane of cholinergic synapses in all investigated brain areas (including dorsal hippocampus, somatosensory and medial prefrontal cortices, caudate putamen, basolateral amygdala, centrolateral thalamic nucleus, medial septum, vertical- and horizontal limbs of the diagonal band of Broca, substantia innominata and ventral pallidum). In the hippocampus, the density of neuroligin 2 labeling was similar in GABAergic and cholinergic synapses. Moreover, several cholinergic contact sites that were strongly labeled with neuroligin 2 did not resemble typical synapses, suggesting that cholinergic axons form more synaptic connections than it was recognized previously. We showed that cholinergic cells themselves also express neuroligin 2 in a subset of their input synapses. These data indicate that mutations in human neuroligin 2 gene and genetic manipulations of neuroligin 2 levels in rodents will potentially cause alterations in the cholinergic system as well, which may also have a profound effect on the functional properties of brain circuits and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72450
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 5 2013

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cholinergic agents
synapse
Synapses
Cholinergic Agents
Brain
brain
mice
cells
hippocampus
choline acetyltransferase
synaptic transmission
Hippocampus
amygdala
neuroligin 2
Substantia Innominata
Diagonal Band of Broca
anxiety
limbs (animal)
genetic engineering
Mediodorsal Thalamic Nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Neuroligin 2 Is Expressed in Synapses Established by Cholinergic Cells in the Mouse Brain. / Takács, Virág T.; Freund, T.; Nyíri, G.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 9, e72450, 05.09.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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