Postsynaptic Syntaxin 4 negatively regulates the efficiency of neurotransmitter release

Signaling from the postsynaptic compartment regulates multiple aspects of synaptic development and function. Syntaxin 4 (Syx4) is a plasma membrane t-SNARE that promotes the growth and plasticity of Drosophila neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) by regulating the localization of key synaptic proteins in the postsynaptic compartment. Here, we describe electrophysiological analyses and report that loss of Syx4 leads to enhanced neurotransmitter release, despite a decrease in the number of active zones. We describe a requirement for postsynaptic Syx4 in regulating several presynaptic parameters, including Ca2+ cooperativity and the abundance of the presynaptic calcium channel Cacophony (Cac) at active zones. These findings indicate Syx4 negatively regulates presynaptic neurotransmitter release through a retrograde signaling mechanism from the postsynaptic compartment.