Lighting up pre‐synaptic potentiation
J Neurochem. 2020-12-04; :
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This is an Editorial Highlight of a manuscript by Oldani et al. (2020) (Oldani et al. 2020) in the current issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, in which the authors describe synaptoPAC, a new optogenetic tool. SynaptoPAC is targeted to pre-synaptic compartments and can be used for light-induced increase of the levels of cAMP. Pre-synaptic plasticity, defined as activity-dependent modulation of neurotransmitter release, occurs over a variety of time scales. At a subset of synapses in the brain, long-term forms of pre-synaptic facilitation depend on an increase in the levels of cAMP. Light-induced modulation of cAMP at synapses expressing cAMP-dependent facilitation, has the great potential to mimic pre-synaptic plasticity at genetically targeted synapses. Therefore, synaptoPAC constitutes a powerful tool to study the role of pre-synaptic potentiation in the activity of selected neuronal circuits in relation to behaving animals with a high temporal and spatial precision.