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Title: Axon Initial Segment GABA Inhibits Action Potential Generation throughout Periadolescent Development

Neurons are remarkably polarized structures: dendrites spread and branch to receive synaptic inputs while a single axon extends and transmits action potentials (APs) to downstream targets. Neuronal polarity is maintained by the axon initial segment (AIS), a region between the soma and axon proper that is also the site of action potential (AP) generation. This polarization between dendrites and axons extends to inhibitory neurotransmission. In adulthood, the neurotransmitter GABA hyperpolarizes dendrites but instead depolarizes axons. These differences in function collide at the AIS. Multiple studies have shown that GABAergic signaling in this region can share properties of either the mature axon or mature dendrite, and that these properties evolve over a protracted period encompassing periadolescent development. Here, we explored how developmental changes in GABAergic signaling affect AP initiation. We show that GABA at the axon initial segment inhibits action potential initiation in layer (L)2/3 pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortex from mice of either sex across GABA reversal potentials observed in periadolescence. These actions occur largely through current shunts generated by GABAAreceptors and changes in voltage-gated channel properties that affected the number of channels that could be recruited for AP electrogenesis. These results suggest that GABAergic neurons targeting the axon initial segment provide an inhibitory “veto” across the range of GABA polarity observed in normal adolescent development, regardless of GABAergic synapse reversal potential.

Significance StatementGABA receptors are a major class of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. Typically, GABA receptors inhibit neurons by allowing influx of negatively charged chloride ions into the cell. However, there are cases where local chloride concentrations promote chloride efflux through GABA receptors. Such conditions exist early in development in neocortical pyramidal cell axon initial segments (AISs), where action potentials (APs) initiate. Here, we examined how chloride efflux in early development interacts with mechanisms that support action potential initiation. We find that this efflux, despite moving membrane potential closer to action potential threshold, is nevertheless inhibitory. Thus, GABA at the axon initial segment is likely to be inhibitory for action potential initiation independent of whether chloride flows out or into neurons via these receptors.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1523
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journal of Neuroscience
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 6357-6368
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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