High-throughput all-optical analysis of synaptic transmission and synaptic vesicle recycling in Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Synaptic vesicles (SVs) undergo a cycle of biogenesis and membrane fusion to release transmitter, followed by recycling. How exocytosis and endocytosis are coupled is intensively investigated. We describe an all-optical method for identification of neurotransmission genes that can directly distinguish SV recycling factors in C. elegans, by motoneuron photostimulation and muscular RCaMP Ca2+ imaging. We verified our approach on mutants affecting synaptic transmission. Mutation of genes affecting SV recycling (unc-26 synaptojanin, unc-41 stonin, unc-57 endophilin, itsn-1 intersectin, snt-1 synaptotagmin) showed a distinct ‘signature’ of muscle Ca2+ dynamics, induced by cholinergic motoneuron photostimulation, i.e. faster rise, and earlier decrease of the signal, reflecting increased synaptic fatigue during ongoing photostimulation. To facilitate high throughput, we measured (3–5 times) ~1000 nematodes for each gene. We explored if this method enables RNAi screening for SV recycling genes. Previous screens for synaptic function genes, based on behavioral or pharmacological assays, allowed no distinction of the stage of the SV cycle in which a protein might act. We generated a strain enabling RNAi specifically only in cholinergic neurons, thus resulting in healthier animals and avoiding lethal phenotypes resulting from knockdown elsewhere. RNAi of control genes resulted in Ca2+ measurements that were consistent with results obtained in the respective genomic mutants, albeit to a weaker extent in most cases, and could further be confirmed by opto-electrophysiological measurements for mutants of some of the genes, including synaptojanin. We screened 95 genes that were previously implicated in cholinergic transmission, and several controls. We identified genes that clustered together with known SV recycling genes, exhibiting a similar signature of their Ca2+ dynamics. Five of these genes (C27B7.7, erp-1, inx-8, inx-10, spp-10) were further assessed in respective genomic mutants; however, while all showed electrophysiological phenotypes indicative of reduced cholinergic transmission, no obvious SV recycling phenotypes could be uncovered for these genes.
Author:Sebastian Wabnig, Jana F. LiewaldORCiDGND, Szi-chieh Yu, Alexander GottschalkORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):PLoS One
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2015/08/27
Date of first Publication:2015/08/27
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/02/04
Issue:(8): e0135584
Page Number:26
First Page:1
Last Page:26
Copyright: © 2015 Wabnig et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0