Modification of synapses in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) is believed to underlie pheromonal memory that enables mate recognition in mice. The memory, which is acquired with single-trial learning, forms only with coincident noradrenergic and glutamatergic inputs to the AOB. The mechanisms by which glutamate and norepinephrine (NE) alter the AOB synapses are not well understood. Here we present results that not only reconcile the earlier, seemingly contradictory, observations on the role of glutamate and NE in changing the AOB synapses, but also reveal novel mechanisms of plasticity. Our studies suggest that initially, glutamate acting at Group II metabotropic receptors and NE acting at α2-adrenergic receptors inhibit N-type and R-type Ca2+ channels in mitral cells via a G-protein. The N-type and R-type Ca2+ channel inhibition is reversed by activation of α1-adrenergic receptors and protein kinase Cα (PKCα). Based on these results, we propose a hypothetical model for a new kind of synaptic plasticity in the AOB that accounts for the previous behavioral data on pheromonal memory. According to this model, initial inhibition of the Ca2+ channels suppresses the GABAergic inhibitory feedback to mitral cells, causing disinhibition and Ca2+ influx. NE also activates phospholipase C (PLC) through α1-adrenergic receptors generating inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and diacylglycerol (DAG). Calcium and DAG together activate PKCα which switches the disinhibition to increased inhibition of mitral cells. Thus, PKCα is likely to be a coincidence detector integrating glutamate and NE input in the AOB and bridging the short-term signaling to long-term structural changes resulting in enhanced inhibition of mitral cells that is thought to underlie memory formation.
|Translated title of the contribution||Protein kinase C alpha mediates signaling underlying an novel form of synaptic plasticity in the accessory olfactory bulb|
|Pages (from-to)||811 - 824|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Oct 2009|