The formation of CNS circuits is characterized by the coordinated development of neuronal structure and synaptic function. The activity-regulated candidate plasticity gene 15 (cpg15) encodes a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked protein whose in vivo expression increases the dendritic arbor growth rate of Xenopus optic tectal cells. We now demonstrate that tectal cell expression of CPG15 significantly increases the elaboration of presynaptic retinal axons by decreasing rates of branch retractions. Whole-cell recordings from optic tectal neurons indicate that CPG15 expression promotes retinotectal synapse maturation by recruiting functional AMPA receptors to synapses. Expression of truncated CPG15, lacking its GPI anchor, does not promote axon arbor growth and blocks synaptic maturation. These results suggest that CPG15 coordinately increases the growth of pre- and postsynaptic structures and the number and strength of their synaptic contacts.
PubMed ID: 11017173
Article link: Nat Neurosci.
Genes referenced: gnpda1 gpi nrn1