Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Function and Plasticity of Electrical Synapses in the Mammalian Brain: Role of Non-Junctional Mechanisms

Version 1 : Received: 21 December 2021 / Approved: 23 December 2021 / Online: 23 December 2021 (11:42:39 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Curti, S.; Davoine, F.; Dapino, A. Function and Plasticity of Electrical Synapses in the Mammalian Brain: Role of Non-Junctional Mechanisms. Biology 2022, 11, 81. Curti, S.; Davoine, F.; Dapino, A. Function and Plasticity of Electrical Synapses in the Mammalian Brain: Role of Non-Junctional Mechanisms. Biology 2022, 11, 81.

Journal reference: Biology 2022, 11, 81
DOI: 10.3390/biology11010081

Abstract

Electrical transmission between neurons is largely mediated by gap junctions. These junctions allow the direct flow of electric current between neurons, and in mammals are mostly composed of the protein connexin (Cx)36. Circuits of electrically coupled neurons are widespread in these animals, plus, experimental and theoretical evidence supports the notion that, beyond synchronicity, these circuits are able to perform sophisticated operations like lateral excitation and inhibition, noise reduction, as well as the ability to selectively respond upon coincident excitatory inputs. Although once considered stereotyped and unmodifiable, we now know that electrical synapses are subject to modulation and, by reconfiguring neural circuits, these modulations can alter relevant operations. The strength of electrical synapses depends on gap junction conductance, as well as on its functional interaction with the electrophysiological properties of coupled neurons. In particular, voltage dependent channels of the non-synaptic membrane critically determine the efficacy of transmission at these contacts. Consistently, modulatory actions on these channels have been shown to represent relevant mechanisms of plasticity of electrical synaptic transmission. Here we review recent evidence on the regulation of electrical synapses of mammals, the underlying molecular mechanisms, and the possible ways in which they affect circuit function.

Keywords

Gap junctions; Connexins; Connexons; Electrical coupling; Cx36; Coincidence detection; HCN channels; Neuronal synchronization; Lateral Excitation; Oscillatory activity

Subject

BIOLOGY, Physiology

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