Sahin GS - Luis Rodriguez-Llamas J - Dillon C - Medina I - Appleyard SM - Gaiarsa JL - Wayman GA


Science signaling


Developing hippocampal neurons undergo rapid synaptogenesis in response to neurotrophic signals to form and refine circuit connections. The adipokine leptin is a satiety factor with neurotrophic actions, which potentiates both glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptogenesis in the hippocampus during neonatal development. Brief exposure to leptin enhances GABA receptor-dependent synaptic currents in hippocampal neurons. Here, using molecular and electrophysiological techniques, we found that leptin increased the surface localization of GABA receptors and the number of functional GABAergic synapses in hippocampal cultures from male and female rat pups. Leptin increased the interaction between GABA receptors and the Rho guanine exchange factor β-PIX (a scaffolding protein at GABAergic postsynaptic sites) in a manner dependent on the kinase CaMKK. We also found that the leptin receptor and β-PIX formed a complex, the amount of which transiently increased upon leptin receptor activation. Furthermore, Tyr in the leptin receptor and the SH3 domain of β-PIX are crucial for this interaction, which was required for the developmental increase in GABAergic synaptogenesis. Our results suggest a mechanism by which leptin promotes GABAergic synaptogenesis in hippocampal neurons and reveal further complexity in leptin receptor signaling and its interactome.

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