The GABAergic synapses, a primary inhibitory synapse in the mammalian brain, is important for the normal development of brain circuits, and for the regulation of the excitation-inhibition balance critical for brain function from the developmental stage throughout life. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the formation, maintenance, and modulation of GABAergic synapses is less understood compared to that of excitatory synapses. Quantum dot-single particle tracking (QD-SPT), a super-resolution imaging technique that enables the analysis of membrane molecule dynamics at single-molecule resolution, is a powerful tool to analyze the behavior of proteins and lipids on the plasma membrane. In this review, we summarize the recent application of QD-SPT in understanding of GABAergic synaptic transmission. Here we introduce QD-SPT experiments that provide further insights into the molecular mechanism supporting GABAergic synapses. QD-SPT studies revealed that glutamate and Ca2+ signaling is involved in (a) the maintenance of GABAergic synapses, (b) GABAergic long-term depression, and GABAergic long-term potentiation, by specifically activating signaling pathways unique to each phenomenon. We also introduce a novel Ca2+ imaging technique to describe the diversity of Ca2+ signals that may activate the downstream signaling pathways that induce specific biological output.
ASJC Scopus subject areas