Elbaz, I., Lerer-Goldshtein, T., Okamoto, H., Appelbaum, L. (2015) Reduced synaptic density and deficient locomotor response in neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin 2a mutant zebrafish. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 29(4):1220-34.
Neuronal-activity-regulated pentraxin (NARP/NPTX2/NP2) is a secreted synaptic protein that regulates the trafficking of glutamate receptors and mediates learning, memory, and drug addiction. The role of NPTX2 in regulating structural synaptic plasticity and behavior in a developing vertebrate is indefinite. We characterized the expression of nptx2a in larvae and adult zebrafish and established a transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN)-mediated nptx2a mutant (nptx2a(-/-)) to study the role of Nptx2a in regulating structural synaptic plasticity and behavior. Similar to mammals, the zebrafish nptx2a was expressed in excitatory neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Its expression was induced in response to a mechanosensory stimulus but did not change during day and night. Behavioral assays showed that loss of Nptx2a results in reduced locomotor response to light-to-dark transition states and to a sound stimulus. Live imaging of synapses using the transgenic nptx2a:GAL4VP16 zebrafish and a fluorescent presynaptic synaptophysin (SYP) marker revealed reduced synaptic density in the axons of the spinal motor neurons and the anterodorsal lateral-line ganglion (gAD), which regulate locomotor activity and locomotor response to mechanosensory stimuli, respectively. These results suggest that Nptx2a affects locomotor response to external stimuli by mediating structural synaptic plasticity in excitatory neuronal circuits.