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Long-term intrinsic and synaptic plasticity must be coordinated to ensure stability and flexibility in neuronal circuits. Coordination might be achieved through shared transduction components. Dopamine (DA) is a well-established participant in many forms of long-term synaptic plasticity. Recent work indicates that DA is also involved in both activity-dependent and -independent forms of long-term intrinsic plasticity. We previously examined DA-enabled long-term intrinsic plasticity in a single identified neuron. The lateral pyloric (LP) neuron is a component of the pyloric network in the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system (STNS). LP expresses type 1 DA receptors (D1Rs). A 1 h bath application of 5 nM DA followed by washout produced a significant increase in the maximal conductance (Gmax ) of the LP transient potassium current (IA ) that peaked ∼4 h after the start of DA application; furthermore, if a change in neuronal activity accompanied the DA application, then a persistent increase in the LP hyperpolarization activated current (Ih ) was also observed. Here, we repeated these experiments with pharmacological and peptide inhibitors to determine the cellular processes and signaling proteins involved. We discovered that the persistent, DA-induced activity-independent (IA ) and activity-dependent (Ih ) changes in ionic conductances depended upon many of the same elements that enable long-term synaptic plasticity, including: the D1R-protein kinase A (PKA) axis, RNA polymerase II transcription, RNA interference (RNAi), and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent translation. We interpret the data to mean that increasing the tonic DA concentration enhances expression of a microRNA(s) (miRs), resulting in increased cap-dependent translation of an unidentified protein(s).


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Front Cell Neurosci, 8 39. DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00039

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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