Adenylate cyclase 1 promotes strengthening and experience-dependent plasticity of whisker relay synapses in the thalamus.

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Adenylate Cyclase, Animals, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Neuronal Plasticity, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Synapses, Trigeminal Nuclei, Ventral Thalamic Nuclei, Vibrissae

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J Physiol 2011 Dec 1; 589(Pt 23):5649-62.




Synaptic refinement, a process that involves elimination and strengthening of immature synapses, is critical for the development of neural circuits and behaviour. The present study investigates the role of adenylate cyclase 1 (AC1) in developmental refinement of excitatory synapses in the thalamus at the single-cell level. In the mouse, thalamic relay synapses of the lemniscal pathway undergo extensive remodelling during the second week after birth, and AC1 is highly expressed in both pre- and postsynaptic neurons during this period. Synaptic connectivity was analysed by patch-clamp recording in acute slices obtained from mice carrying a targeted null mutation of the adenylate cyclase 1 gene (AC1-KO) and wild-type littermates. We found that deletion of AC1 had no effect on the number of relay inputs received by thalamic neurons during development. In contrast, there was a selective reduction of AMPA-receptor-mediated synaptic responses in mutant thalamic neurons, and the effect increased with age. Furthermore, experience-dependent plasticity was impaired in thalamic neurons of AC1-KO mice. Whisker deprivation during early life altered the number and properties of relay inputs received by thalamic neurons in wild-type mice, but had no effects in AC1-KO mice. Our findings underline a role for AC1 in experience-dependent plasticity of excitatory synapses.

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