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This content will become publicly available on March 1, 2023

Title: The dynamic range of voltage-dependent gap junction signaling is maintained by I h -induced membrane potential depolarization
Like their chemical counterparts, electrical synapses show complex dynamics such as rectification and voltage dependence that interact with other electrical processes in neurons. The consequences arising from these interactions for the electrical behavior of the synapse, and the dynamics they create, remain largely unexplored. Using a voltage-dependent electrical synapse between a descending modulatory projection neuron (MCN1) and a motor neuron (LG) in the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion, we find that the influence of the hyperpolarization-activated inward current ( I h ) is critical to the function of the electrical synapse. When we blocked I h with CsCl, the apparent voltage dependence of the electrical synapse shifted by 18.7 mV to more hyperpolarized voltages, placing the dynamic range of the electrical synapse outside of the range of voltages used by the LG motor neuron (−60.2 mV to −44.9 mV). With dual electrode current- and voltage-clamp recordings, we demonstrate that this voltage shift is not due to a change in the properties of the gap junction itself, but is a result of a sustained effect of I h on the presynaptic MCN1 axon terminal membrane potential. I h -induced depolarization of the axon terminal membrane potential increased the electrical postsynaptic potentials and currents. more » With I h present, the axon terminal resting membrane potential is depolarized, shifting the dynamic range of the electrical synapse toward the functional range of the motor neuron. We thus demonstrate that the function of an electrical synapse is critically influenced by a voltage-dependent ionic current ( I h ). NEW & NOTEWORTHY Electrical synapses and voltage-gated ionic currents are often studied independently from one another, despite mounting evidence that their interactions can alter synaptic behavior. We show that the hyperpolarization-activated inward ionic current shifts the voltage dependence of electrical synaptic transmission through its depolarizing effect on the membrane potential, enabling it to lie within the functional membrane potential range of a motor neuron. Thus, the electrical synapse’s function critically depends on the voltage-gated ionic current. « less
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Journal Name:
Journal of Neurophysiology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
776 to 790
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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