Activity-dependent endocytosis of Wingless regulates synaptic plasticity in the Drosophila visual system.


Kawamura H(1), Hakeda-Suzuki S(1), Suzuki T(1).
Author information:
(1)Graduate School of Life Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology.


Neural activity contributes to synaptic regulation in sensory systems, which allows organisms to adjust to changing environments. However, little is known about how synaptic molecular components are regulated to achieve activity-dependent plasticity at central synapses. Previous studies have shown that following prolonged exposure to natural ambient light, the presynaptic active zone (AZ), an area associated with presynaptic neurotransmitter release in Drosophila photoreceptors, undergoes reversible remodeling. Other studies suggest that the secretory protein Wingless (Wg; an ortholog of Wnt-1) can mediate communication between synaptic cells to achieve synaptic remodeling. However, the source of Wg and the mechanism of Wg signal modulation by neuronal activity remained unclear. Here, we found that Wg secreted from glial cells regulates synaptic remodeling in photoreceptors. In addition, antibody staining revealed that Wg changes its localization depending on light conditions. Although Wg is secreted from glial cells, Wg appeared inside photoreceptor axons when flies were kept under light conditions, suggesting that an increase in neuronal activity causes Wg internalization into photoreceptors by endocytosis. Indeed, by blocking endocytosis in photoreceptors, the localization of Wg in photoreceptors disappeared. Interestingly, Wg accumulation was higher in axons with disassembled AZ structure than in axons whose AZ structure was stabilized at the single-cell level, indicating that Wg endocytosis may trigger AZ disassembly. Furthermore, when we genetically activated Wg signaling, Wg accumulation in photoreceptors decreased. Conversely, when we suppressed Wg signaling there was an increase in Wg accumulation. Through RNAi screening of Ca2+-binding proteins in photoreceptors, we found that Calcineurin is a key molecule that triggers Wg endocytosis. Overall, we propose that Wg signaling is regulated by a negative feedback loop driven by Wg endocytosis. The increase in neuronal activity is transmitted via calcium signaling, which leads to a decrease in Wg signaling and thereby promotes presynaptic remodeling.