Kidins220 (Kinase D interacting substrate of 220 kDa)/ARMS (Ankyrin Repeat-rich Membrane Spanning) is a scaffold protein highly expressed in the nervous system. Previous work on neurons with altered Kidins220/ARMS expression suggested that this protein plays multiple roles in synaptic function. In this study, we analyzed the effects of Kidins220/ARMS ablation on basal synaptic transmission and on a variety of short-term plasticity paradigms in both excitatory and inhibitory synapses using a recently described Kidins220 full knockout mouse. Hippocampal neuronal cultures prepared from embryonic Kidins220(-/-) (KO) and wild type (WT) littermates were used for whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of spontaneous and evoked synaptic activity. Whereas glutamatergic AMPA receptor-mediated responses were not significantly affected in KO neurons, specific differences were detected in evoked GABAergic transmission. The recovery from synaptic depression of inhibitory post-synaptic currents in WT cells showed biphasic kinetics, both in response to paired-pulse and long-lasting train stimulation, while in KO cells the respective slow components were strongly reduced. We demonstrate that the slow recovery from synaptic depression in WT cells is caused by a transient reduction of the vesicle release probability, which is absent in KO neurons. These results suggest that Kidins220/ARMS is not essential for basal synaptic transmission and various forms of short-term plasticity, but instead plays a novel role in the mechanisms regulating the recovery of synaptic strength in GABAergic synapses.
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