Main Menu (Mobile)- Block
Main Menu - Block
Neurons are inherently plastic, adjusting their structure, connectivity and excitability in response to changes in activity. How neurons sense changes in their activity level and then transduce these to structural changes remains to be fully elucidated. Working with the Drosophila larval locomotor network, we show that neurons use reactive oxygen species (ROS), metabolic byproducts, to monitor their activity. ROS signals are both necessary and sufficient for activity-dependent structural adjustments of both pre- and postsynaptic terminals and for network output, as measured by larval crawling behavior. We find the highly conserved Parkinsons disease-linked protein DJ-1b acts as a redox sensor in neurons where it regulates pre- and postsynaptic structural plasticity, in part via modulation of the PTEN-PI3Kinase pathway. Neuronal ROS thus play an important physiological role as second messengers required for neuronal and network tuning, whose dysregulation in the ageing brain and under neurodegenerative conditions may contribute to synaptic dysfunction.