A Synaptotagmin Isoform Switch during the Development of an Identified CNS Synapse
Various Synaptotagmin (Syt) isoform genes are found in mammals, but it is unknown whether Syts can function redundantly in a given nerve terminal, or whether isoforms can be switched during the development of a nerve terminal. Here, we investigated the possibility of a developmental Syt isoform switch using the calyx of Held as a model synapse. At mature calyx synapses, fast Ca2+-driven transmitter release depended entirely on Syt2, but the release phenotype of Syt2 knockout (KO) mice was weaker at immature calyces, and absent at pre-calyceal synapses early postnatally. Instead, conditional genetic inactivation shows that Syt1 mediates fast release at pre-calyceal synapses, as well as a fast release component resistant to Syt2 deletion in immature calyces. This demonstrates a developmental Syt1-Syt2 isoform switch at an identified synapse, a mechanism that could fine-tune the speed, reliability, and plasticity of transmitter release at fast releasing CNS synapses.