Cacna1a encodes the pore-forming a1A subunit of CaV2.1 voltage-dependent calcium channels, which regulate neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. Purkinje cells in the cortex of cerebellum abundantly express these CaV2.1 channels. Here, we show that homozygous tottering (tg) mice, which carry a loss-of-function Cacna1a mutation, exhibit severely impaired learning in Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning, which is a cerebellar-dependent learning task. Performance of reflexive eyeblinks is unaffected in tg mice. Transient seizure activity in tg mice further corrupted the amplitude of eyeblink conditioned responses. Our results indicate that normal calcium homeostasis is imperative for cerebellar learning and that the oscillatory state of the brain can affect the expression thereof.

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Journal of Neurophysiology
Department of Neuroscience

De Oude, N.L. (Nina L.), Hoebeek, F., ten Brinke, M., de Zeeuw, C., & Boele, H.-J. (2021). Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning is severely impaired in tottering mice. Journal of Neurophysiology, 125(2), 398–407. doi:10.1152/jn.00578.2020