The P/Q-type voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) are essential for synaptic transmission at adult mammalian neuromuscular junctions (NMJs); however, the subsynaptic location of VDCCs relative to active zones in rodent NMJs, and the functional modification of VDCCs by the interaction with active zone protein Bassoon remain unknown. Here, we show that P/Q-type VDCCs distribute in a punctate pattern within the NMJ presynaptic terminals and align in three dimensions with Bassoon. This distribution pattern of P/Q-type VDCCs and Bassoon in NMJs is consistent with our previous study demonstrating the binding of VDCCs and Bassoon. In addition, we now show that the interaction between P/Q-type VDCCs and Bassoon significantly suppressed the inactivation property of P/Q-type VDCCs, suggesting that the Ca2+ influx may be augmented by Bassoon for efficient synaptic transmission at NMJs. However, presynaptic Bassoon level was significantly attenuated in aged rat NMJs, which suggests an attenuation of VDCC function due to a lack of this interaction between VDCC and Bassoon. Importantly, the decreased Bassoon level in aged NMJs was ameliorated by isometric strength training of muscles for two months. The training increased Bassoon immunoreactivity in NMJs without affecting synapse size. These results demonstrated that the P/Q-type VDCCs preferentially accumulate at NMJ active zones and play essential role in synaptic transmission in conjunction with the active zone protein Bassoon. This molecular mechanism becomes impaired by aging, which suggests altered synaptic function in aged NMJs. However, Bassoon level in aged NMJs can be improved by muscle exercise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)