The expression of long-term depression (LTD) in cerebellar Purkinje cells results from the internalisation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptors (AMPARs) from the postsynaptic membrane. This process is regulated by a complex signalling pathway involving sustained protein kinase C (PKC) activation, inhibition of serine/threonine phosphatase, and an active protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTPMEG. In addition, two AMPAR-interacting proteins–glutamate receptor-interacting protein (GRIP) and protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1)–regulate the availability of AMPARs for trafficking between the postsynaptic membrane and the endosome. Here we present a new computational model of these overlapping signalling pathways. The model reveals how PTPMEG cooperates with PKC to drive LTD expression by facilitating the effect of PKC on the dissociation of AMPARs from GRIP and thus their availability for trafficking. Model simulations show that LTD expression is increased by serine/threonine phosphatase inhibition, and negatively regulated by Src-family tyrosine kinase activity, which restricts the dissociation of AMPARs from GRIP under basal conditions. We use the model to expose the dynamic balance between AMPAR internalisation and reinsertion, and the phosphorylation switch responsible for the perturbation of this balance and for the rapid plasticity initiation and regulation. Our model advances the understanding of PF-PC LTD regulation and induction, and provides a validated extensible platform for more detailed studies of this fundamental synaptic process.
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