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Calpain-1 and calpain-2 are involved in the regulation of several signaling pathways and neuronal functions in the brain. Our recent studies indicate that calpain-1 is required for hippocampal synaptic plasticity, including long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP) in field CA1. However, little is known regarding the contributions of calpain-1 to cerebellar synaptic plasticity. Low frequency stimulation (LFS, 5 Hz, 5 min)-induced LTP at parallel fibers to Purkinje cell synapses was markedly impaired in cerebellar slices from calpain-1 knock-out (KO) mice. Application of a selective calpain-2 inhibitor enhanced LFS-induced LTP in both wild-type (WT) and calpain-1 KO mice. Three protocols were used to induce LTD at these synapses: LFS (1 Hz, 15 min), perfusion with high potassium and glutamate (K-Glu) or dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), a mGluR1 agonist. All three forms of LTD were impaired in calpain-1 KO mice. DHPG application stimulated calpain-1 but not calpain-2 in cerebellar slices, and DHPG-induced LTD impairment was reversed by application of a protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) inhibitor, okadaic acid. As in hippocampus, BDNF induced calpain-1 activation and PH domain and Leucine-rich repeat Protein Phosphatase 1/suprachiasmatic nucleus oscillatory protein (PHLPP1/SCOP) degradation followed by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation, as well as calpain-2 activation leading to degradation of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN) in cerebellar slices. The role of calpain-1 in associative learning was evaluated in the delay eyeblink conditioning (EBC). Calpain-1 KO mice exhibited significant learning impairment in EBC during the first 2 days of acquisition training. However, after 5 days of training, the percentage of conditioned responses (CRs) between calpain-1 KO and WT mice was identical. Both calpain-1 KO and WT mice exhibited typical extinction patterns. Our results indicate that calpain-1 plays critical roles in multiple forms of synaptic plasticity and associative learning in both hippocampus and cerebellum.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Neurobiology of learning and memory
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