The molecular basis for cerebellar plasticity and motor learning remains controversial. Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) contain a high concentration of cGMP-dependent protein kinase type I (cGKI). To investigate the function of cGKI in long-term depression (LTD) and cerebellar learning, we have generated conditional knockout mice lacking cGKI selectively in PCs. These cGKI mutants had a normal cerebellar morphology and intact synaptic calcium signaling, but strongly reduced LTD. Interestingly, no defects in general behavior and motor performance could be detected in the LTD-deficient mice, but the mutants exhibited an impaired adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). These results indicate that cGKI in PCs is dispensable for general motor coordination, but that it is required for cerebellar LTD and specific forms of motor learning, namely the adaptation of the VOR.

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The Journal of Cell Biology
Department of Neuroscience

Feil, E., Hartmann, J., Luo, C., Wolfsgruber, W., Schilling, K., Feil, E., … Hofmann, F. (2003). Impairment of LTD and cerebellar learning by Purkinje cell-specific ablation of cGMP-dependent protein kinase I. The Journal of Cell Biology, 163(2), 295–302. doi:10.1083/jcb.200306148