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Keywords:

  • docked vesicle;
  • olfactory sensory neuron;
  • presynaptic differentiation;
  • protein tyrosine phosphatase σ;
  • synapse formation;
  • synaptic vesicle

J. Neurochem. (2011) 119, 532–543.

Abstract

The formation and refinement of synaptic connections are key steps of neural development to establish elaborate brain networks. To investigate the functional role of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) σ, we employed an olfactory sensory neuron (OSN)-specific gene manipulation system in combination with in vivo imaging of transparent zebrafish embryos. Knockdown of PTPσ enhanced the accumulation of synaptic vesicles in the axon terminals of OSNs. The exaggerated accumulation of synaptic vesicles was restored to the normal level by the OSN-specific expression of PTPσ, indicating that presynaptic PTPσ is responsible for the regulation of synaptic vesicle accumulation. Consistently, transient expression of a dominant-negative form of PTPσ in OSNs enhanced the accumulation of synaptic vesicles. The exaggerated accumulation of synaptic vesicles was reproduced in transgenic zebrafish lines carrying an OSN-specific expression vector of the dominant-negative PTPσ. By electron microscopic analysis of the transgenic line, we found the significant increase of the number of OSN-mitral cell synapses in the central zone of the olfactory bulb. The density of docked vesicles at the active zone was also increased significantly. Our results suggest that presynaptic PTPσ controls the number of OSN-mitral cell synapses by suppressing their excessive increase.