Retrograde semaphorin-plexin signalling drives homeostatic synaptic plasticity

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Homeostatic signalling systems ensure stable but flexible neural activity and animal behaviour1,2,3,4. Presynaptic homeostatic plasticity is a conserved form of neuronal homeostatic signalling that is observed in organisms ranging fromDrosophilato human1,5. Defining the underlying molecular mechanisms of neuronal homeostatic signalling will be essential in order to establish clear connections to the causes and progression of neurological disease. During neural development, semaphorin-plexin signalling instructs axon guidance and neuronal morphogenesis6,7,8,9,10. However, semaphorins and plexins are also expressed in the adult brain11,12,13,14,15,16. Here we show that semaphorin 2b (Sema2b) is a target-derived signal that acts upon presynaptic plexin B (PlexB) receptors to mediate the retrograde, homeostatic control of presynaptic neurotransmitter release at the neuromuscular junction inDrosophila. Further, we show that Sema2b-PlexB signalling regulates presynaptic homeostatic plasticity through the cytoplasmic protein Mical and the oxoreductase-dependent control of presynaptic actin. We propose that semaphorin-plexin signalling is an essential platform for the stabilization of synaptic transmission throughout the developing and mature nervous system. These findings may be relevant to the aetiology and treatment of diverse neurological and psychiatric diseases that are characterized by altered or inappropriate neural function and behaviour.

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