Maturation of complex synaptic connections of layer 5 cortical axons in the posterior thalamic nucleus requires SNAP25
Hayashi S., Hoerder-Suabedissen A., Kiyokage E., Maclachlan C., Toida K., Knott G., Molnár Z.
Abstract Synapses are able to form in the absence of neuronal activity, but how is their subsequent maturation affected in the absence of regulated vesicular release? We explored this question using 3D electron microscopy and immuno electron microscopy analyses in the large, complex synapses formed between cortical sensory efferent axons and dendrites in the posterior thalamic nucleus. Using a Snap25 conditional knockout we found that during the first two postnatal weeks the axonal boutons emerge and increase in the size similar to the control animals. However, by P18, when an adult-like architecture should normally be established, axons were significantly smaller with 3D reconstructions showing that each Snap25 -cko bouton only forms a single synapse with the connecting dendritic shaft. No excrescences from the dendrites were formed, and none of the normally large glomerular axon endings were seen. These results show that activity mediated through regulated vesicular release from the presynaptic terminal is not necessary for the formation of synapses, but it is required for the maturation of the specialised synaptic structures between layer 5 corticothalamic projections in Po.