The role of tonic glycinergic conductance in cerebellar granule cells signalling and the effect of gain‐of‐function mutation

Catherine McLaughlin, John Clements, Ana‐Maria Oprişoreanu, Sergiy Sylantyev* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Functional glycine receptors (GlyRs) have been repeatedly detected in cerebellar granule cells (CGCs), where they deliver exclusively tonic inhibitory signals. The functional role of this signalling, however, remains unclear. Apart from that, there is accumulating evidence of the important role of GlyRs in cerebellar structures in development of neural pathologies such as hyperekplexia, which can be triggered by GlyR gain‐of‐function mutations. In this research we initially tested functional properties of GlyRs, carrying the yet understudied T258F gain‐of‐function mutation, and found that this mutation makes significant modifications in GlyR response to endogenous agonists. Next, we clarified the role of tonic GlyR conductance in neuronal signalling generated by single CGCs and by neural networks in cell cultures and in living cerebellar tissue of C57Bl‐6J mice. We found that GlyRs of CGCs deliver a significant amount of tonic inhibition not continuously, but when the cerebellar granule layer starts receiving substantial excitatory input. Under these conditions tonically active GlyRs become a part of neural signalling machinery allowing generation of action potential (AP) bursts of limited length in response to sensory‐evoked signals. GlyRs of CGCs support a biphasic modulatory mechanism which enhances AP firing when excitatory input intensity is low, but suppresses it when excitatory input rises to a certain critical level. This enables one of the key functions of the CGC layer: formation of sensory representations and their translation into motor output. Finally, we have demonstrated that the T258F mutation in CGC GlyRs modifies single‐cell and neural network signalling, and breaks a biphasic modulation of the AP‐generating machinery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2457-2481
Number of pages25
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number9
Early online date2 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information
Wellcome Trust. Grant Number: ISSF‐2
Rosetrees Trust. Grant Number: A‐1066


  • glycine receptor
  • gain-of-function mutation
  • tonic-inhibitory current
  • cerebellar granule cells


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