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The activity-dependent regulation of synaptic structures plays a key role in synaptic development and plasticity; however, the signaling mechanisms involved remain largely unknown. The serine/threonine protein kinase Akt, a downstream effector of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), plays a pivotal role in a wide range of physiological functions. We focused on the importance of Akt in rapid synaptic structural changes after stimulation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction, a well-studied model synapse. Compared with wild-type larvae, akt mutants showed significantly reduced muscle size and an increased number of boutons per area, suggesting that Akt is required for proper pre- and postsynaptic growth. In addition, the level of cysteine string protein (CSP) was significantly increased, and its distribution was different in akt mutants. After high K+ single stimulation, the CSP level of akt mutant NMJs increased dramatically compared with that of wild-type NMJs. Interestingly, ghost boutons without postsynaptic specialization were found in akt mutant NMJs, and the number of these boutons was significantly increased by patterned stimulation. In contrast, the postsynaptic change in the subsynaptic reticulum (SSR) in the akt mutant occurred independent of stimulation. These results suggest that Akt functions in both pre- and postsynaptic growth and differentiation, and in particular, presynaptic action occurs in an activity-dependent manner. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Yoon-Jung Kim. Activity-induced synaptic structural modifications by Akt. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2022 Sep 17;621:94-100

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PMID: 35820284

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