Ionotropic glutamate receptors, especially the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptor subtype, undergo dynamic trafficking between the surface membrane and intracellular organelles. This trafficking activity determines the efficacy and strength of excitatory synapses and is subject to modulation by changing synaptic inputs. Given the possibility that glutamate receptors in the central nervous system might be a sensitive target of anesthetic agents, this study investigated the possible impact of anesthesia on trafficking and subcellular expression of AMPA receptors in adult mouse brain neurons in vivo. We found that anesthesia induced by a systemic injection of pentobarbital did not alter total protein levels of three AMPA receptor subunits (GluR1–3) in cortical neurons. However, an anesthetic dose of pentobarbital reduced GluR1 and GluR3 proteins in the surface pool and elevated these proteins in the intracellular pool of cortical neurons. The similar redistribution of GluR1/3 was observed in mouse striatal neurons. Pentobarbital did not significantly alter GluR2 expression in the two pools. Chloral hydrate at an anesthetic dose also reduced surface GluR1/3 expression and increased intracellular levels of these proteins. The effect of pentobarbital on subcellular distribution of AMPA receptors was reversible. Altered subcellular distribution of GluR1/3 returned to normal levels after the anesthesia subsided. These data indicate that anesthesia induced by pentobarbital and chloral hydrate can alter AMPA receptor trafficking in both cortical and striatal neurons. This alteration is characterized by the concurrent loss and addition of GluR1/3 subunits in the respective surface and intracellular pools.
pentobarbital; chloral hydrate; glutamate; GluR1; GluR3; trafficking
Glutamate-induced neuronal damage is mainly caused by overactivation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Conversely, normal physiological brain function and neuronal survival require adequate activation of NMDA receptors. Studies have revealed that NMDA receptor-induced neuronal death or survival is mediated through distinct subset of NMDA receptors triggering different intracellular signaling pathways. Here we discuss recent advances in the characterization of NMDA receptors in neuronal protection, emphasizing subunit-specific role, which contributes to temporal-spatial distribution, subcellular localization and diverse channel properties of NMDA receptors.
NMDA receptors; glutamate; excitotoxicity; ischemia; neuroprotection
The trafficking of ionotropic glutamate (AMPA, NMDA and kainate) and GABAA receptors in and out of, or laterally along, the postsynaptic membrane has recently emerged as an important mechanism in the regulation of synaptic function, both under physiological and pathological conditions, such as information processing, learning and memory formation, neuronal development, and neurodegenerative diseases. Non-ionotropic glutamate receptors, primarily group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), co-exist with the postsynaptic ionotropic glutamate and GABAA receptors. The ability of mGluRs to regulate postsynaptic phosphorylation and Ca2+ concentration, as well as their interactions with postsynaptic scaffolding/signaling proteins, makes them well suited to influence the trafficking of ionotropic glutamate and GABAA receptors. Recent studies have provided insights into how mGluRs may impose such an influence at central synapses, and thus how they may affect synaptic signaling and the maintenance of long-term synaptic plasticity. In this review we will discuss some of the recent progress in this area: i) long-term synaptic plasticity and the involvement of mGluRs; ii) ionotropic glutamate receptor trafficking and long-term synaptic plasticity; iii) the involvement of postsynaptic group I mGluRs in regulating ionotropic glutamate receptor trafficking; iv) involvement of postsynaptic group I mGluRs in regulating GABAA receptor trafficking; v) and the trafficking of postsynaptic group I mGluRs themselves.
Metabotropic; ionotropic; glutamate receptor; GABAA receptor; receptor trafficking; endocytosis; hippocampus; synaptic plasticity
It is known that glutamate is a major excitatory transmitter of sensory and cortical afferents to the thalamus. These actions are mediated via several distinct receptors with postsynaptic excitatory effects predominantly mediated by ionotropic receptors of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate varieties (NMDA). However, there are also other kinds of glutamate receptor present in the thalamus, notably the metabotropic and kainate types, and these may have more complex or subtle roles in sensory transmission. This paper describes recent electrophysiological experiments done in vitro and in vivo which aim to determine how the metabotropic and kainate receptor types can influence transmission through the sensory thalamic relay. A particular focus will be how such mechanisms might operate under physiological conditions.
Previous studies have shown that blockade of ventral tegmental area (VTA) glutamate N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptors induces reward, stimulates forward locomotion and enhances brain stimulation reward. Glutamate induces two types of excitatory response on VTA neurons, a fast and short lasting depolarization mediated by α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) receptors and a longer lasting depolarization mediated by NMDA receptors. A role for the two glutamate receptors in modulation of VTA neuronal activity is evidenced by the functional change in AMPA and NMDA synaptic responses that result from repeated exposure to reward. Since both receptors contribute to the action of glutamate on VTA neuronal activity, we studied the effects of VTA AMPA and NMDA receptor blockade on reward induced by electrical brain stimulation. Experiments were performed on rats trained to self-administer electrical pulses in the medial posterior mesencephalon. Reward thresholds were measured with the curve-shift paradigm before and for 2 h after bilateral VTA microinjections of the AMPA antagonist, NBQX (2,3,-Dioxo-6-nitro-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzo(f)quinoxaline-7-sulfonamide, 0, 80, and 800 pmol/0.5 μl/side) and of a single dose (0.825 nmol/0.5 μl/side) of the NMDA antagonist, PPPA (2R,4S)-4-(3-Phosphonopropyl)-2-piperidinecarboxylic acid). NBQX produced a dose-dependent increase in reward threshold with no significant change in maximum rate of responding. Whereas PPPA injected at the same VTA sites produced a significant time dependent decrease in reward threshold and increase in maximum rate of responding. We found a negative correlation between the magnitude of the attenuation effect of NBQX and the enhancement effect of PPPA; moreover, NBQX and PPPA were most effective when injected, respectively, into the anterior and posterior VTA. These results suggest that glutamate acts on different receptor sub-types, most likely located on different VTA neurons, to modulate reward.
AMPA; glutamate; NMDA; reward; ventral midbrain
The insertion and removal of N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors from the synapse are critical events that modulate synaptic plasticity. While a great deal of progress has been made on understanding the mechanisms that modulate trafficking of NMDA receptors, we do not currently understand the molecular events required for the fusion of receptor containing vesicles with the plasma membrane. Here we show that sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase3 (also known as neutral sphingomyelinase-2; nSMase2) is critical for TNFα-induced trafficking of NMDA receptors and synaptic plasticity. TNFα initiated a rapid increase in ceramide that was associated with increased surface localization of NMDA receptor NR1 subunits and a specific clustering of NR1 phosphorylated on serines 896 and 897 into lipid rafts. Brief applications of TNFα increased the rate and amplitude of NMDA-evoked calcium bursts and enhanced excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs). Pharmacological inhibition or genetic mutation of nSMase2 prevented TNFα-induced generation of ceramide, phosphorylation of NR1 subuints, clustering of NR1, enhancement of NMDA-evoked calcium flux and EPSCs.
Among diverse factors regulating excitatory synaptic transmission, the abundance of postsynaptic glutamate receptors figures prominently in molecular memory and learning-related synaptic plasticity. To allow for both long-term maintenance of synaptic transmission and acute changes in synaptic strength, the relative rates of glutamate receptor insertion and removal must be tightly regulated. Interactions with scaffolding proteins control the targeting and signaling properties of glutamate receptors within the postsynaptic membrane. In addition, extrasynaptic receptor populations control the equilibrium of receptor exchange at synapses and activate distinct signaling pathways involved in plasticity. Here, we review recent findings that have shaped our current understanding of receptor mobility between synaptic and extrasynaptic compartments at glutamatergic synapses, focusing on AMPA and NMDA receptors. We also examine the cooperative relationship between intracellular trafficking and surface diffusion of glutamate receptors that underlies the expression of learning-related synaptic plasticity.
N-methyl--aspartate (NMDA) receptors are glutamate-gated cation channels that mediate excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system. In addition to glutamate, NMDA receptors are also activated by coagonist binding of the gliotransmitter, -serine. Neuronal NMDA receptors mediate activity-dependent blood flow regulation in the brain. Our objective was to determine whether NMDA receptors expressed by brain endothelial cells can induce vasodilation of isolated brain arteries. Adult mouse middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were isolated, pressurized, and preconstricted with norepinephrine. N-methyl--aspartate receptor agonists, glutamate and NMDA, significantly dilated MCAs in a concentration-dependent manner in the presence of -serine but not alone. Dilation was significantly inhibited by NMDA receptor antagonists, -2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoate and 5,7-dichlorokynurenic acid, indicating a response dependent on NMDA receptor glutamate and -serine binding sites, respectively. Vasodilation was inhibited by denuding the endothelium and by selective inhibition or genetic knockout of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). We also found evidence for expression of the pan-NMDA receptor subunit, NR1, in mouse primary brain endothelial cells, and for the NMDA receptor subunit NR2C in cortical arteries in situ. Overall, we conclude that NMDA receptor coactivation by glutamate and -serine increases lumen diameter in pressurized MCA in an endothelial and eNOS-dependent mechanism.
-serine; eNOS; glutamate; middle cerebral artery; NMDA receptor; NR2C
The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptor expressed at excitatory glutamatergic synapses is required for learning and memory and is critical for normal brain function. At a cellular level, this receptor plays a pivotal role in triggering and controlling synaptic plasticity. While it has been long recognized that this receptor plays a regulatory role, it was considered by many to be itself immune to synaptic activity-induced plasticity. More recently, we and others have shown that NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses can be subject to activity-dependent depression.
Here we show that depression of synaptic transmission mediated by NMDA receptors displays a state-dependence in its plasticity; NMDA receptors are resistant to activity-induced changes at silent and recently-silent synapses. Once synapses transition to the active state however, NMDA receptors become fully 'plastic'. This state-dependence is identical to that shown by the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptor. Furthermore, the down-regulation of NMDAR-mediated responses during synaptic depression is prevented by disruption of dynamin-dependent endocytosis.
NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses are plastic in a state-dependent manner. Depending on the plasticity state in which a synapse currently resides, NMDA receptors will either be available or unavailable for down-regulation. The mechanism underlying the down-regulation of NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses is endocytosis of the NMDA receptor. Other potential mechanisms, such as receptor diffusion along the plane of the membrane, or changes in the activity of the channel are not supported. The mechanisms of AMPA receptor and NMDA receptor endocytosis appear to be tightly coupled, as both are either available or unavailable for endocytosis in the same synaptic states. Endocytosis of NMDA receptors would serve as a potent mechanism for metaplasticity. Such state-dependent regulation of NMDAR endocytosis will provide fundamental control over downstream NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity of neuronal circuitry.
Bipolar disorder (BPD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are common, chronic, and recurrent mood disorders that affect the lives of millions of individuals worldwide. Growing evidence suggests that glutamatergic system dysfunction is directly involved in mood disorders. This article describes the role of the “tripartite glutamatergic synapse”, comprising presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons and glial cells, in the pathophysiology and therapeutics of mood disorders. Glutamatergic neurons and glia directly control synaptic and extrasynaptic glutamate levels/release through integrative effects that target glutamate excitatory amino-acid transporters, postsynaptic density proteins, ionotropic receptors (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole (AMPA), N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), and kainate (KA)), and metabotropic receptors (mGluRs). This article also explores the glutamatergic modulators riluzole and ketamine, which are considered valuable proof of concept agents for developing the next generation of antidepressants and mood stabilizers. In therapeutically relevant paradigms, ketamine preferentially targets postsynaptic AMPA/NMDA receptors, and riluzole preferentially targets presynaptic voltage-operated channels and glia.
Glutamate receptors play major roles in excitatory transmission in the vertebrate brain. Among ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPA, kainate, NMDA), AMPA receptors mediate fast synaptic transmission and require TARP auxiliary subunits. NMDA receptors and kainate receptors play roles in synaptic transmission, but it remains uncertain whether these ionotropic glutamate receptors also have essential subunits. Using a proteomic screen, we have identified NETO2, a brain-specific protein of unknown function, as an interactor with kainate-type glutamate receptors. NETO2 modulates the channel properties of recombinant and native kainate receptors without affecting trafficking of the receptors and also modulates kainate-receptor-mediated mEPSCs. Furthermore, we found that kainate receptors regulate the surface expression of NETO2 and that NETO2 protein levels and surface expression are decreased in mice lacking the kainate receptor GluR6. The results show that NETO2 is a kainate receptor subunit with significant effects on glutamate signaling mechanisms in brain.
The effects of chloral hydrate and/or nitrous oxide were assessed in the mouse staircase test. In this paradigm, the number of steps ascended is thought to reflect locomotor activity, whereas the number of rears is an index of anxiety. Chloral hydrate alone produced a dose-dependent decrease in the number of rears but no change in the number of steps ascended except at the highest dose. Nitrous oxide alone produced a concentration-related increase in the number of steps ascended but no change in rearing. When the two drugs were combined, nitrous oxide appeared to potentiate the rearing suppressant activity of chloral hydrate. Analysis of our experimental findings suggests that chloral hydrate exerts a specific anxiolytic drug effect that can be potentiated by concurrent treatment with nitrous oxide.
We study the dynamics of the transition between the low- and high-firing states of the cortical slow oscillation by using intracellular recordings of the membrane potential from cortical neurons of rats. We investigate the evidence for a bistability in assemblies of cortical neurons playing a major role in the maintenance of this oscillation. We show that the trajectory of a typical transition takes an approximately exponential form, equivalent to the response of a resistor–capacitor circuit to a step-change in input. The time constant for the transition is negatively correlated with the membrane potential of the low-firing state, and values are broadly equivalent to neural time constants measured elsewhere. Overall, the results do not strongly support the hypothesis of a bistability in cortical neurons; rather, they suggest the cortical manifestation of the oscillation is a result of a step-change in input to the cortical neurons. Since there is evidence from previous work that a phase transition exists, we speculate that the step-change may be a result of a bistability within other brain areas, such as the thalamus, or a bistability among only a small subset of cortical neurons, or as a result of more complicated brain dynamics.
Cortex; Neurons; Slow wave sleep; Phase transition
Chloral hydrate has been found in our drinking water supplies at levels up to 5 micrograms/1. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the functional status of the immune system in random-bred CD-1 mice exposed to chloral hydrate for 14 and 90 days. Male mice, following 14 or 90 days of exposure to 1/10 and 1/100 the actual oral LD50, exhibited no alterations in either humoral or cell-mediated immunity. However, female mice exposed for 90 days to chloral hydrate in the drinking water demonstrated a significant depression in humoral immune function. This depression was observed when spleen cells from exposed mice were evaluated for their ability to produce antibody against sheep erythrocytes. These females did not demonstrate any changes in cell-mediated immune status.
The visually evoked potential (VEP) is an electrical signal generated by the occipital cortex in response to light stimulation of the retina. The clinical importance of the VEP consists in the diagnosis of optic nerve diseases and others ocular diseases. For experimental studies of VEP in experimental animals anesthesia is frequently required. Our study sought VEP changes depending on the type and depth of anesthesia.
Methods: this study evaluated VEPs in 20 Wistar rats under two anesthetics. Ten rats were anesthetized with sevoflurane and ten rats with chloral hydrate.
Results: The amplitudes, latencies and morphology of the VEP varied with the depth of anesthesia. The latency of VEP increases with the depth of anesthesia and the amplitude of the waves becomes more positive once the anesthesia decreases under sevoflurane and more negative under chloral hydrate. The variability of VEP was different under the two anesthetics with greater peak latencies under sevoflurane than under chloral hydrate at the same depth of anesthesia.
In conclusion: it is important to know the influence of the anesthetic and the depth of anesthesia over VEPS, because they may constitute a confounding factor in studying VEP in different diseases of optic nerve or eyeball.
visual evoked potentials; sevoflurane; chloral hydrate
Astrocytes release gliotransmitters, notably glutamate, that can affect neuronal and synaptic activity. In particular, astrocytic glutamate release results in the generation of N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDA-R) mediated slow inward currents (SICs) in neurons. However, factors underlying the emergence of SICs, and their physiological roles are largely unknown. Here we show that, in acute slices of rat somatosensory thalamus, stimulation of Lemniscal or cortical afferents results in a sustained increase of SICs in thalamocortical (TC) neurons that outlasts the duration of the stimulus by an hour. This long term enhancement (LTE) of astrocytic glutamate release is induced by group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), and is dependent on astrocytic intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i). Neuronal SICs are mediated by extrasynaptic NR2B subunit-containing NMDA-Rs and are capable of eliciting bursts. These are distinct from T-type Ca2+ channel dependent bursts of action potentials, and are synchronized in neighboring TC neurons. These findings describe a previously unrecognized form of excitatory, non-synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS) that feeds forward to generate local neuronal firing long after stimulus termination.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are ionotropic glutamate receptors that mediate excitatory neurotransmission. NMDA receptors are also important drug targets that are implicated in a number of pathophysiological conditions. To facilitate the transition from lead compounds in pre-clinical animal models to drug candidates for human use, it is important to establish whether NMDA receptor ligands have similar properties at rodent and human NMDA receptors. Here, we compare amino acid sequences for human and rat NMDA receptor subunits and discuss inter-species variation in the context of our current knowledge of the relationship between NMDA receptor structure and function. We summarize studies on the biophysical properties of human NMDA receptors and compare these properties to those of rat orthologs. Finally, we provide a comprehensive pharmacological characterization that allows side-by-side comparison of agonists, un-competitive antagonists, GluN2B-selective non-competitive antagonists, and GluN2C/D-selective modulators at recombinant human and rat NMDA receptors. The evaluation of biophysical properties and pharmacological probes acting at different sites on the receptor suggest that the binding sites and conformational changes leading to channel gating in response to agonist binding are highly conserved between human and rat NMDA receptors. In summary, the results of this study suggest that no major detectable differences exist in the pharmacological and functional properties of human and rat NMDA receptors.
ionotropic glutamate receptor; NMDA; pharmacology; electrophysiology; structure-function
Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) produces age-dependent limbic seizures in the infant rat. Both the phenotype and the neuroanatomic matrix of CRH-induced seizures resemble the seizures induced by the rigid glutamate analogue, kainic acid (KA), and by rapid amygdala kindling. The experiments described in this study tested the hypothesis that the in vivo proconvulsant effects of CRH require activation of ionotropic glutamate receptors. Non-competitive (+MK-801) or competitive (CGP-39551) antagonists of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors decreased or eliminated the motor effects of CRH, but electrographic CRH-induced seizures were unaffected. Administration of CRH antagonists did not affect the acquisition or the maintenance of rapid kindling, which are mediated by NMDA and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptor activation, respectively. CRH receptor blockers failed to alter the latency or duration of seizures induced by activation of KA receptors, and threshold doses of CRH and KA had additive effects. CRH given repeatedly decreased the convulsant threshold dose of KA, probably via injury to hippocampal neurons. These results suggest that CRH and glutamate increase neuronal excitability via independent mechanisms. Because the proconvulsant effects of CRH are highly specific to the developmental period, glutamate-receptor-independent, CRH-receptor mediated excitation may account for some of the enhanced susceptibility to seizures during this period.
Corticotropin releasing hormone; Glutamate receptors; Seizure; Rat
The primary motor cortex has an important role in the precise execution of learned motor responses. During motor learning, synaptic efficacy between sensory and primary motor cortical neurons is enhanced, possibly involving long-term potentiation and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-specific glutamate receptor function. To investigate whether NMDA receptor in the primary motor cortex can act as a coincidence detector for activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength and associative learning, here we generate mice with deletion of the Grin1 gene, encoding the essential NMDA receptor subunit 1 (GluN1), specifically in the primary motor cortex. The loss of NMDA receptor function impairs primary motor cortex long-term potentiation in vivo. Importantly, it impairs the synaptic efficacy between the primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices and significantly reduces classically conditioned eyeblink responses. Furthermore, compared with wild-type littermates, mice lacking primary motor cortex show slower learning in Skinner-box tasks. Thus, primary motor cortex NMDA receptors are necessary for activity-dependent synaptic strengthening and associative learning.
Motor cortex NMDA receptors have a key role in the acquisition of associative memories. Hasan et al. generate mice lacking NMDA receptor activity in the motor cortex and find that this impairs LTP, strengthening of synapses between somatosensory and motor cortices, and associative learning.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are ionotropic glutamate receptors that mediate excitatory synaptic transmission and have been implicated in several neurological diseases. We have evaluated the mechanism of action of a class of novel subunit-selective NMDA receptor antagonists, typified by (E)-4-(6-methoxy-2-(3-nitrostyryl)-4-oxoquinazolin-3(4H)-yl)-benzoic acid (QNZ46). We found that QNZ46 inhibits NMDA receptor function in a non-competitive and voltage-independent manner by an unconventional mechanism that requires binding of glutamate to the GluN2 subunit, but not glycine binding to the GluN1 subunit. This dependency of antagonist association on glutamate binding to GluN2 renders these compounds nominally use-dependent, since inhibition will rely on synaptic release of glutamate. Evaluation of the structural determinants responsible for the subunit-selectivity of QNZ46 revealed that these compounds act at a new site that has not previously been described. Residues residing in the part of the agonist binding domain immediately adjacent to the transmembrane helices appear to control selectivity of QNZ46 for GluN2C- and GluN2D-containing receptors. These residues are well-positioned to sense glutamate binding to GluN2 and thus mediate glutamate-dependent actions. This new class of non-competitive antagonists could provide an opportunity for the development of pharmacological tools and therapeutic agents that target NMDA receptors at a new site and modulate function by a novel mechanism.
patch-clamp electrophysiology; Xenopus oocytes; pharmacology; allosteric modulation
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors belong to the family of ionotropic glutamate receptors that mediate a majority of excitatory synaptic transmission. NMDA receptors are comprised of two glycine-binding GluN1 subunits and two glutamate-binding GluN2 subunits, of which there are four subtypes (GluN2A-D) that determine many functional properties of the receptors. One unique property of the GluN1/GluN2D NMDA receptors is an unusually prolonged deactivation time course that lasts several seconds following the removal of L-glutamate. Here, we show by a combination of x-ray crystallography and electrophysiology that the deactivation time course of the GluN1/GluN2D receptors is influenced both by the conformational variability of the ligand-binding domain as well as the chemical structure and stereochemistry of the activating ligand. Of all ligands tested, L-glutamate and L-CCG-IV induce a significantly slower deactivation time course on the GluN1/GluN2D receptors than other agonists. Furthermore, crystal structures of the isolated GluN2D ligand-binding domain monomer in complex with various ligands reveal that the binding of L-glutamate induces a unique conformation at the back side of the ligand-binding site in proximity to the region where the transmembrane domain would be located in the intact receptors. These data suggest that the activity of the GluN1/GluN2D NMDA receptor is controlled distinctively by the endogenous neurotransmitter L-glutamate.
ionotropic glutamate receptors; NMDA receptors; GluN1/GluN2D; x-ray crystallography; electrophysiology; deactivation; pharmacology
We investigated the role of in vivo synaptic activity upon trafficking of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit, NR2B, at mature synapses by electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. In vivo blockade of NMDA receptors was achieved by applying the NMDA receptor antagonist, d-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (d-APV), onto the cortical surface of one hemisphere of anesthetized adult rats. Inactive l-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (l-APV) was applied to the contralateral hemisphere for within-animal control and to assess basal level of NR2B subunits at synapses. Within 30 min of d-APV treatment, we observed a decrease in the number of layer I axo-spinous asymmetric synapses that are positively immuno-labeled for the NR2B subunits. This decrease was paralleled by reductions in the absolute number of immuno-gold particles found at these synapses. The decrease of NR2B labeling was detectable in all five animals examined. Significant reductions were seen not only at post-synaptic densities, but also within the cytoplasm of spines and axon terminals. The data demonstrate that blockade of NMDA receptors induces trafficking of NR2B subunits out of synaptic membranes, spines, and terminals. This is in sharp contrast to a previous observation that NR2A subunits move into spines and axon terminals following in vivo blockade with d-APV. These findings point to yet unknown, NMDA receptor activity-dependent mechanisms that separately regulate the localization of NR2A and NR2B subunits at synapses.
activity-dependent; d-APV; electron microscopy; immunocytochemistry; ultrastructure; post-embedding colloidal gold labeling
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The role of synaptic activation of NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptor-mediated conductances on CA1 hippocampal pyramidal cells in short-term excitability changes was studied with the use of a computational model. Model parameters were based on experimental recordings from dendrites and somata and previous hippocampal simulations. Representation of CA1 neurons included NMDA and non-NMDA excitatory dendritic synapses, dendritic and somatic inhibition, five intrinsic membrane conductances, and provision for activity-dependent intracellular and extracellular ion concentration changes.The model simulated somatic and dendritic potentials recorded experimentally. The characteristic CA1 spike afterdepolarization was a consequence of the longitudinal spread of dendritic charge, reactivation of slow Ca2+-dependent K+ conductances, slow synaptic processes (NMDA-dependent depolarizing and γ-aminobutyric acid–mediated hyperpolarizing currents) and was sensitive to extracellular potassium accumulation. Calcium currents were found to be less important in generating the spike afterdepolarization.Repetitive activity was influenced by the cumulative activation of the NMDA-mediated synaptic conductances, the frequency-dependent depression of inhibitory synaptic responses, and a shift in the potassium reversal potential. NMDA receptor activation produced a transient potentiation of the excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP). The frequency dependence of EPSP potentiation was similar to the experimental data, reaching a maximal value near 10 Hz.Although the present model did not have compartments for dendritic spines, Ca2+ accumulation was simulated in a restricted space near the intracellular surface of the dendritic membrane. The simulations demonstrated that the Ca2+ component of the NMDA-operated synaptic current can be a significant factor in increasing the Ca2+ concentration at submembrane regions, even in the absence of Ca2+ spikes.Elevation of the extracellular K+ concentration enhanced the dendritic synaptic response during repetitive activity and led to an increase in intracellular Ca2+ levels. This increase in dendritic excitability was partly mediated by NMDA receptor-mediated conductances.Blockade of Ca2+-sensitive K+ conductances in the dendrites increased the size of EPSPs leading to a facilitation of dendritic and somatic spike activity and increased [Ca2+]i. NMDA receptor-mediated conductances appeared as an amplifying component in this mechanism, activated by the relatively depolarized membrane potential.The results suggest that dendritic NMDA receptors, by virtue of their voltage-dependency, can interact with a number of voltage-sensitive conductances to increase the dendritic excitatory response during periods of repetitive synaptic activation. These findings support experimental results that implicate NMDA receptor-mediated conductances in the short-term response plasticity of the CA1 hippocampal pyramidal neuron.
Neurons use neurotransmitters to communicate across synapses, constructing neural circuits in the brain. AMPA-type glutamate receptors are the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter receptors mediating fast synaptic transmission. AMPA receptors localize at synapses by forming protein complexes with transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs) and PSD-95-like MAGUKs. Among the three classes of ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPA-, NMDA, kainate-type), AMPA receptor activity is most regulatable by neuronal activity to adjust synaptic strength. Here, we mutated the prototypical TARP, stargazin, and found that TARP phosphorylation regulates synaptic AMPA receptor activity in vivo. We also found that stargazin interacts with negatively-charged lipid bilayers in its phosphorylation dependent manner, and that the lipid interaction inhibited stargazin binding to PSD-95. Cationic lipids dissociated stargazin from lipid bilayers and enhanced synaptic AMPA receptor activity in a stargazin phosphorylation-dependent manner. Thus, TARP phosphorylation plays a critical role in regulating AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission via a lipid bilayer interaction.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that binds to the kainate receptor, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, and the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR). Each receptor was first characterized and cloned in the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamate is also present in the periphery, and glutamate receptors have been identified in nonneuronal tissues, including bone, heart, kidney, pancreas, and platelets. Platelets play a central role in normal thrombosis and hemostasis, as well as contributing greatly to diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction. Despite the presence of glutamate in platelet granules, the role of glutamate during hemostasis is unknown. We now show that activated platelets release glutamate, that platelets express AMPAR subunits, and that glutamate increases agonist-induced platelet activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that glutamate binding to the AMPAR increases intracellular sodium concentration and depolarizes platelets, which are important steps in platelet activation. In contrast, platelets treated with the AMPAR antagonist CNQX or platelets derived from GluR1 knockout mice are resistant to AMPA effects. Importantly, mice lacking GluR1 have a prolonged time to thrombosis in vivo. Our data identify glutamate as a regulator of platelet activation, and suggest that the AMPA receptor is a novel antithrombotic target.