In the central nervous system, activity-dependent endocytosis of postsynaptic AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPA receptors) is thought to mediate long-term depression (LTD), which is a synaptic plasticity model in various neuronal circuits. However, whether and how AMPA receptor endocytosis and LTD at specific synapses are causally linked to learning and memory in vivo remains unclear. Recently, we developed a new optogenetic tool, PhotonSABER, which could control AMPA receptor endocytosis in temporal, spatial, and cell-type-specific manners at activated synapses. Using PhotonSABER, we found that AMPA receptor endocytosis and LTD at synapses between parallel fibers and Purkinje cells in the cerebellum mediate oculomotor learning. We also found that PhotonSABER could inhibit endocytosis of epidermal growth factor receptors in HeLa cells upon light stimulation. These results demonstrate that PhotonSABER is a powerful tool for analyzing the physiological functions of endocytosis in non-neuronal cells, as well as the roles of LTD in various brain regions.
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