G-protein-coupled-receptor-mediated presynaptic inhibition in the cerebellum
Stephens, G. J. (2009) G-protein-coupled-receptor-mediated presynaptic inhibition in the cerebellum. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 30 (8). 421-430 . ISSN 01656147
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.008
Throughout the central nervous system a dominant form of inhibition of neurotransmitter release from presynaptic terminals is mediated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Neurotransmitter release is typically induced by action potentials (APs), but can also occur spontaneously. Presynaptic inhibition by GPCRs has been associated with modulation of voltage-dependent ion channels. However, electrophysiological recordings of spontaneous, AP-independent (so-called ‘miniature’) postsynaptic events reveal an additional, important form of GPCR-mediated presynaptic inhibition, distinct from effects on ionic conductances and consistent with a direct action on the vesicle release machinery. Recent studies suggest that such miniature events might be of physiological relevance not only in signalling but also in development. In the cerebellum, neurotransmitter release onto Purkinje cells occurs by AP-dependent and AP-independent pathways. Here, I focus on inhibitory synapses between interneurons and Purkinje cells, which are subject to strong, identifiable regulation by endogenous GPCR agonists, to consider mechanisms of GPCR-mediated presynaptic inhibition.