PLCγ1 in dopamine neurons critically regulates striatal dopamine release via VMAT2 and synapsin III

Hye Yun Kim, Jieun Lee, Hyun Jin Kim, Byeong Eun Lee, Jaewook Jeong, Eun Jeong Cho, Hyun Jun Jang, Kyeong Jin Shin, Min Ji Kim, Young Chan Chae, Seung Eun Lee, Kyungjae Myung, Ja Hyun Baik, Pann Ghill Suh, Jae Ick Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dopamine neurons are essential for voluntary movement, reward learning, and motivation, and their dysfunction is closely linked to various psychological and neurodegenerative diseases. Hence, understanding the detailed signaling mechanisms that functionally modulate dopamine neurons is crucial for the development of better therapeutic strategies against dopamine-related disorders. Phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) is a key enzyme in intracellular signaling that regulates diverse neuronal functions in the brain. It was proposed that PLCγ1 is implicated in the development of dopaminergic neurons, while the physiological function of PLCγ1 remains to be determined. In this study, we investigated the physiological role of PLCγ1, one of the key effector enzymes in intracellular signaling, in regulating dopaminergic function in vivo. We found that cell type-specific deletion of PLCγ1 does not adversely affect the development and cellular morphology of midbrain dopamine neurons but does facilitate dopamine release from dopaminergic axon terminals in the striatum. The enhancement of dopamine release was accompanied by increased colocalization of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) at dopaminergic axon terminals. Notably, dopamine neuron-specific knockout of PLCγ1 also led to heightened expression and colocalization of synapsin III, which controls the trafficking of synaptic vesicles. Furthermore, the knockdown of VMAT2 and synapsin III in dopamine neurons resulted in a significant attenuation of dopamine release, while this attenuation was less severe in PLCγ1 cKO mice. Our findings suggest that PLCγ1 in dopamine neurons could critically modulate dopamine release at axon terminals by directly or indirectly interacting with synaptic machinery, including VMAT2 and synapsin III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2357-2375
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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