Synaptic development is an activity-dependent process utilizing coordinated network activity to drive synaptogenesis and subsequent refinement of immature connections. Hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons (PYRs) exhibit intense burst firing (BF) early in development, concomitant with the period of mossy fibre (MF) development. However, whether developing MF-PYR synapses utilize PYR BF to pr0omote MF synapse maturation remains unknown. Recently, we demonstrated that transient tonic depolarization of postsynaptic PYRs induces a persistent postsynaptic form of long-term depression (depolarization-induced long-term depression, DiLTD) at immature MF-PYR synapses. DiLTD induction is NMDAR independent but does require postsynaptic Ca2+ influx through L-type voltage gated Ca2+ channels (L-VGCCs), and is expressed as a reduction in AMPAR function through the loss of GluR2-lacking AMPARs present at immature MF-PYR synapses. Here we examined whether more physiologically relevant phasic L-VGCC activation by PYR action potential (AP) BF activity patterns can trigger DiLTD. Using combined electrophysiological and Ca2+ imaging approaches we demonstrate that PYR BF effectively drives L-VGCC activation and that brief periods of repetitive PYR BF, produced by direct current injection or intrinsic network activity induces NMDAR-independent LTD by promoting Ca2+ influx through the activated L-VGCCs. This BF induced LTD, just like DiLTD, is specific for developing MF-PYR synapses, is PICK1 dependent, and is expressed postsynaptically. Our results demonstrate that DiLTD can be induced by phasic L-VGCC activation driven by PYR BF, suggesting the engagement of natural PYR network activity patterns for MF synapse maturation.
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