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Redistribution of Kv1 and Kv7 enhances neuronal excitability during structural axon initial segment plasticity.

Hiroshi Kuba, Rei Yamada, Go Ishiguro, Ryota Adachi

Nat Commun, 2015 , 6, 8815

Structural plasticity of the axon initial segment (AIS), the trigger zone of neurons, is a powerful means for regulating neuronal activity. Here, we show that AIS plasticity is not limited to structural changes; it also occurs as changes in ion-channel expression, which substantially augments the efficacy of regulation. In the avian cochlear nucleus, depriving afferent inputs by removing cochlea elongated the AIS, and simultaneously switched the dominant Kv channels at the AIS from Kv1.1 to Kv7.2. Due to the slow activation kinetics of Kv7.2, the redistribution of the Kv channels reduced the shunting conductance at the elongated AIS during the initiation of action potentials and effectively enhanced the excitability of the deprived neurons. The results indicate that the functional plasticity of the AIS works cooperatively with the structural plasticity and compensates for the loss of afferent inputs to maintain the homeostasis of auditory circuits after hearing loss by cochlea removal.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26581625