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Andreas FRICK


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« Dr. rer nat » (PhD): summa cum laude. Institut Max-Planck pour Psychiatrie, Université Technique de Munich, Munich, Allemagne. Superviseur Pr. H. U. Dodt et Pr. H. Zieglgaensberger
Chercheur postdoctorant, boursier d'excellence Feodor Lynen (Alexander von Humboldt foundation). Baylor College of Medicine, Division de Neuroscience, Houston, Texas, Etats-Unis. Superviseur : Pr Daniel Johnston
Chargé de Recherche. Institut Max-Planck pour la Recherche Médicale, Département de Biologie Cellulaire, Heidelberg, Allemagne. Directeur : Pr. Bert Sakmann
Chargé de recherche INSERM «AVENIR », Neurocentre Magendie (2008-2010)
Chercheur INSERM statutaire CR1, Neurocentre Magendie (depuis 2009)

34 publication(s) since Novembre 1998:

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15/02/2009 | J Physiol   IF 4.5
Synaptic ionotropic glutamate receptors and plasticity are developmentally altered in the CA1 field of Fmr1 knockout mice
Pilpel Y, Kolleker A, Berberich S, Ginger M, Frick A, Mientjes E, Oostra B A, Seeburg P H

Fragile X syndrome is one of the most common forms of mental retardation, yet little is known about the physiological mechanisms causing the disease. In this study, we probed the ionotropic glutamate receptor content in synapses of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons in a mouse model for fragile X (Fmr1 KO2). We found that Fmr1 KO2 mice display a significantly lower AMPA to NMDA ratio than wild-type mice at 2 weeks of postnatal development but not at 6-7 weeks of age. This ratio difference at 2 weeks postnatally is caused by down-regulation of the AMPA and up-regulation of the NMDA receptor components. In correlation with these changes, the induction of NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation following a low-frequency pairing protocol is increased in Fmr1 KO2 mice at this developmental stage but not later in maturation. We propose that ionotropic glutamate receptors, as well as potentiation, are altered at a critical time point for hippocampal network development, causing long-term changes. Associated learning and memory deficits would contribute to the fragile X mental retardation phenotype.

15/01/2009 | J Physiol   IF 4.5
Kinase-dependent modification of dendritic excitability after long-term potentiation
Rosenkranz J A, Frick A, Johnston D

Patterns of presynaptic activity properly timed with postsynaptic action potential output can not only increase the strength of synaptic inputs but can also increase the excitability of dendritic branches of adult CA1 pyramidal neurons. Here, we examined the role of protein kinase A (PKA) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the enhancement of dendritic excitability that occurs during theta-burst pairing of presynaptic and postsynaptic firing activity. Using dendritic and somatic whole-cell recordings in rat hippocampal slices, we measured the increase in the amplitude of back-propagating action potentials in the apical dendrite that occurs in parallel with long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic inputs. We found that inhibition of the MAPK pathway prevents this enhancement of dendritic excitability using either a weak or strong LTP induction protocol, while synaptic LTP can still be induced by the strong protocol. Both forms of plasticity are blocked by inhibition of PKA and occluded by interfering with cAMP degradation, consistent with a PKA-mediated increase in MAPK activity following induction of LTP. This provides a signalling mechanism for plasticity of dendritic excitability that occurs during neuronal activity and demonstrates the necessity of MAPK activation. Furthermore, this study uncovers an additional contribution of kinase activation to plasticity that may occur during learning.

01/02/2008 | Cereb Cortex   IF 6.3
Monosynaptic connections between pairs of L5A pyramidal neurons in columns of juvenile rat somatosensory cortex
Frick A, Feldmeyer D, Helmstaedter M, Sakmann B

Layer 5 (L5) of somatosensory cortex is a major gateway for projections to intra- and subcortical brain regions. This layer is further divided into 5A and 5B characterized by relatively separate afferent and efferent connections. Little is known about the organization of connections within L5A of neocortical columns. We therefore used paired recordings to probe the anatomy and physiology of monosynaptic connections between L5A pyramidal neurons within the barrel columns of somatosensory cortex in acute slices of approximately 3-week-old rats. Post hoc reconstruction and calculation of the axodendritic overlap of pre- and postsynaptic neurons, together with identification of putative synaptic contacts (3.5 per connection), indicated a preferred innervation domain in the proximal dendritic region. Synaptic transmission was reliable (failure rate <2%) and had a low variability (coefficient of variation of 0.3). Unitary excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) amplitudes varied 30-fold with a mean of 1.2 mV and displayed depression over a wide range of frequencies (2-100 Hz) during bursts of presynaptic firing. A single L5A pyramidal neuron was estimated to target approximately 270 other pyramidal neurons within the same layer of its home barrel column, suggesting a mechanism of feed-forward excitation by which synchronized single action potentials are efficiently transmitted within L5A of juvenile cortex.

The probability of synaptic transmitter release determines the spread of excitation and the possible range of computations at unitary connections. To investigate whether synaptic properties between neocortical pyramidal neurons change during the assembly period of cortical circuits, whole-cell voltage recordings were made simultaneously from two layer 5A (L5A) pyramidal neurons within the cortical columns of rat barrel cortex. We found that synaptic transmission between L5A pyramidal neurons is very reliable between 2 and 3 weeks of postnatal development with a mean unitary EPSP amplitude of approximately 1.2 mV, but becomes less efficient and fails more frequently in the more mature cortex of approximately 4 weeks of age with a mean unitary EPSP amplitude of 0.65 mV. Coefficient of variation and failure rate increase as the unitary EPSP amplitude decreases during development. The paired-pulse ratio (PPR) of synaptic efficacy at 10 Hz changes from 0.7 to 1.04. Despite the overall increase in PPR, short-term plasticity displays a large variability at 4 weeks, ranging from strong depression to strong facilitation (PPR, range 0.6-2.1), suggesting the potential for use-dependent modifications at this intracortical synapse. In conclusion, the transmitter release probability at the L5A-L5A connection is developmentally regulated in such a way that in juvenile animals excitation by single action potentials is efficiently transmitted, whereas in the more mature cortex synapses might be endowed with a diversity of filtering characteristics.


22/11/2006 | J Neurosci   IF 6
Deletion of Kv4.2 gene eliminates dendritic A-type K+ current and enhances induction of long-term potentiation in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons
Chen X, Yuan L L, Zhao C, Birnbaum S G, Frick A, Jung W E, Schwarz T L, Sweatt J D, Johnston D

Dendritic, backpropagating action potentials (bAPs) facilitate the induction of Hebbian long-term potentiation (LTP). Although bAPs in distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons are attenuated when propagating from the soma, their amplitude can be increased greatly via downregulation of dendritic A-type K+ currents. The channels that underlie these currents thus may represent a key regulatory component of the signaling pathways that lead to synaptic plasticity. We directly tested this hypothesis by using Kv4.2 knock-out mice. Deletion of the Kv4.2 gene and a loss of Kv4.2 protein resulted in a specific and near-complete elimination of A-type K+ currents from the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. The absence of dendritic Kv4.2-encoded A-type K+ currents led to an increase of bAP amplitude and an increase of concurrent Ca2+ influx. Furthermore, CA1 pyramidal neurons lacking dendritic A-type K+ currents from Kv4.2 knock-out mice exhibited a lower threshold than those of wild-type littermates for LTP induction with the use of a theta burst pairing protocol. LTP triggered with the use of a saturating protocol, on the other hand, remained indistinguishable between Kv4.2 knock-out and wild-type neurons. Our results support the hypothesis that dendritic A-type K+ channels, composed of Kv4.2 subunits, regulate action potential backpropagation and the induction of specific forms of synaptic plasticity.

01/07/2005 | J Neurobiol   IF 4.5
Plasticity of dendritic excitability
Frick A, Johnston D

Dendrites are equipped with a plethora of voltage-gated ion channels that greatly enrich the computational and storage capacity of neurons. The excitability of dendrites and dendritic function display plasticity under diverse circumstances such as neuromodulation, adaptation, learning and memory, trauma, or disorders. This adaptability arises from alterations in the biophysical properties or the expression levels of voltage-gated ion channels-induced by the activity of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and second-messenger cascades. In this review we discuss how this plasticity of dendritic excitability could alter information transfer and processing within dendrites, neurons, and neural networks under physiological and pathological conditions.

02/2004 | Nat Neurosci   IF 19.9
LTP is accompanied by an enhanced local excitability of pyramidal neuron dendrites.
Frick A, Magee J, Johnston D

The propagation and integration of signals in the dendrites of pyramidal neurons is regulated, in part, by the distribution and biophysical properties of voltage-gated ion channels. It is thus possible that any modification of these channels in a specific part of the dendritic tree might locally alter these signaling processes. Using dendritic and somatic whole-cell recordings, combined with calcium imaging in rat hippocampal slices, we found that the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) was accompanied by a local increase in dendritic excitability that was dependent on the activation of NMDA receptors. These changes favored the back-propagation of action potentials into this dendritic region with a subsequent boost in the Ca(2+) influx. Dendritic cell-attached patch recordings revealed a hyperpolarized shift in the inactivation curve of transient, A-type K(+) currents that can account for the enhanced excitability. These results suggest an important mechanism associated with LTP for shaping signal processing and controlling dendritic function.

10/2003 | J Neurophysiol   IF 2.5
A modified Sindbis vector for prolonged gene expression in neurons.
Jeromin A, Yuan LL, Frick A, Pfaffinger P, Johnston D

Sindbis viruses have been widely used in neurobiology to express a variety of genes in cultured neurons, in cultured slices, and in vivo. They provide fast onset and high levels of expression of foreign genes, but the expression is limited to a short time window due to a shut-off of host protein synthesis. We have used a mutation in an essential gene (nsP2) of the life cycle of Sindbis, which allows the functional analysis of changes in protein expression for >/=6 days after infection. This Sindbis mutant (nsP2) was used to express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in hippocampal neurons in culture and in vivo without any sign of toxicity, based on two-photon imaging and electrophysiology. In addition, the EGFP mutant virus can be injected in vivo to visualize spines and other details of neuronal structure. The Sindbis mutant described here provides an improved tool in neurobiology with reduced cytotoxicity and a prolonged time window of expression for novel applications in imaging and behavior. In addition, the use of this vector for the functional expression of mammalian voltage-gated ion channels in organotypic slices is demonstrated.

29/04/2003 | Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci   IF 5.7
Active dendrites, potassium channels and synaptic plasticity.
Johnston D, Christie BR, Frick A, Gray R, Hoffman DA, Schexnayder LK, Watanabe S, Yuan LL

The dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus express numerous types of voltage-gated ion channel, but the distributions or densities of many of these channels are very non-uniform. Sodium channels in the dendrites are responsible for action potential (AP) propagation from the axon into the dendrites (back-propagation); calcium channels are responsible for local changes in dendritic calcium concentrations following back-propagating APs and synaptic potentials; and potassium channels help regulate overall dendritic excitability. Several lines of evidence are presented here to suggest that back-propagating APs, when coincident with excitatory synaptic input, can lead to the induction of either long-term depression (LTD) or long-term potentiation (LTP). The induction of LTD or LTP is correlated with the magnitude of the rise in intracellular calcium. When brief bursts of synaptic potentials are paired with postsynaptic APs in a theta-burst pairing paradigm, the induction of LTP is dependent on the invasion of the AP into the dendritic tree. The amplitude of the AP in the dendrites is dependent, in part, on the activity of a transient, A-type potassium channel that is expressed at high density in the dendrites and correlates with the induction of the LTP. Furthermore, during the expression phase of the LTP, there are local changes in dendritic excitability that may result from modulation of the functioning of this transient potassium channel. The results support the view that the active properties of dendrites play important roles in synaptic integration and synaptic plasticity of these neurons.