Recent evidence suggests that SNARE fusion machinery play critical roles in postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptor trafficking, which is essential for synaptic plasticity. However, the key SNAREs involved remain highly controversial; syntaxin-3 and syntaxin-4 are leading candidates for the syntaxin isoform underlying postsynaptic plasticity. In a previous study, we showed that pyramidal-neuron specific conditional knockout (cKO) of syntaxin-4 significantly reduces basal transmission, synaptic plasticity and impairs postsynaptic receptor trafficking. However, this does not exclude a role for syntaxin-3 in such processes. Here, we generated and analyzed syntaxin-3 cKO mice. Extracellular field recordings in hippocampal slices showed that syntaxin-3 cKO did not exhibit significant changes in CA1 basal neurotransmission or in paired-pulse ratios. Importantly, there were no observed differences during LTP in comparison to control mice. Syntaxin-3 cKO mice performed similarly as the controls in spatial and contextual learning tasks. Consistent with the minimal effects of syntaxin-3 cKO, syntaxin-3 mRNA level was very low in hippocampal and cortex pyramidal neurons, but strongly expressed in the corpus callosum and caudate axon fibers. Together, our data suggest that syntaxin-3 is dispensable for hippocampal basal neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity, and further supports the notion that syntaxin-4 is the major isoform mediating these processes.
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