Homer 1a gates the induction mechanism for endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity

Alan M. Roloff, Garret R. Anderson, Kirill A. Martemyanov, Stanley A. Thayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


At hippocampal excitatory synapses, endocannabinoids (eCBs) mediate two forms of retrograde synaptic inhibition that are induced by postsynaptic depolarization or activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). The homer family of molecular scaffolds provides spatial organization to regulate postsynaptic signaling cascades, including those activated by mGluRs. Expression of the homer 1a (H1a) immediate-early gene produces a short homer protein that lacks the domain required for homer oligomerization, enabling it to uncouple homer assemblies. Here, we report that H1a differentially modulates two forms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity, depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE) and metabotropic suppression of excitation (MSE). EPSCs were recorded from cultured hippocampal neurons and DSE evoked by a 15 s depolarization to 0mV and MSE evoked by a type I mGluR agonist. Expression of H1a enhanced DSE and inhibited MSE at the same synapse. Many physiologically important stimuli initiate H1a expression including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Treating hippocampal cultures with BDNF increased transcription of H1a and uncoupled homer 1c-GFP (green fluorescent protein) clusters. BDNF treatment blocked MSE and enhanced DSE. Thus, physiological changes in H1a expression gate the induction pathway for eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity by uncoupling mGluR from eCB production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3072-3081
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 24 2010


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