bims-climfi Biomed News
on Cerebellar cortical circuitry
Issue of 2023‒06‒04
one paper selected by
Jun Maruta
Mount Sinai Health System

  1. Nat Commun. 2023 May 30. 14(1): 3113
      Precise alignment of pre- and postsynaptic elements optimizes the activation of glutamate receptors at excitatory synapses. Nonetheless, glutamate that diffuses out of the synaptic cleft can have actions at distant receptors, a mode of transmission called spillover. To uncover the extrasynaptic actions of glutamate, we localized AMPA receptors (AMPARs) mediating spillover transmission between climbing fibers and molecular layer interneurons in the cerebellar cortex. We found that climbing fiber spillover generates calcium transients mediated by Ca2+-permeable AMPARs at parallel fiber synapses. Spillover occludes parallel fiber synaptic currents, indicating that separate, independently regulated afferent pathways converge onto a common pool of AMPARs. Together these findings demonstrate a circuit motif wherein glutamate 'spill-in' from an unconnected afferent pathway co-opts synaptic receptors, allowing activation of postsynaptic AMPARs even when canonical glutamate release is suppressed.