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1.  SAP102 mediates synaptic clearance of NMDA receptors 
Cell reports  2012;2(5):1120-1128.
Membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUKs) are the major family of scaffolding proteins at the postsynaptic density. The PSD-MAGUK subfamily, which includes PSD-95, PSD-93, SAP97 and SAP102, is well accepted to be primarily involved in the synaptic anchoring of numerous proteins, including N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). Notably, the synaptic targeting of NMDARs depends on the binding of the PDZ ligand on the GluN2B subunit to MAGUK PDZ domains as disruption of this interaction dramatically decreases NMDAR surface and synaptic expression. We recently reported a secondary interaction between SAP102 and GluN2B, in addition to the PDZ interaction. Here, we identify two critical residues on GluN2B responsible for the non-PDZ binding to SAP102. Strikingly, either mutation of these critical residues or knock-down of endogenous SAP102 can rescue the defective surface expression and synaptic localization of PDZ binding-deficient GluN2B. These data reveal an unexpected, non-scaffolding role for SAP102 in the synaptic clearance of GluN2B-containing NMDARs.
PMCID: PMC3513525  PMID: 23103165
2.  NMDA receptor signaling: death or survival? 
Frontiers in biology  2011;6(6):468-476.
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.
PMCID: PMC3491906  PMID: 23144645
NMDA receptors; glutamate; excitotoxicity; ischemia; neuroprotection
3.  NMDA Receptor-Dependent Regulation of Dendritic Spine Morphology by SAP102 Splice Variants 
Membrane associated guanylate kinases (MAGUKs) are major components of the postsynaptic density and play important roles in synaptic organization and plasticity. Most excitatory synapses are located on dendritic spines, which are dynamic structures that undergo morphological changes during synapse formation and plasticity. Synapse-associated protein 102 (SAP102) is a MAGUK that is highly expressed early in development and mediates receptor trafficking during synaptogenesis. Mutations in human SAP102 cause mental retardation, which is often accompanied with abnormalities in dendritic spines. However, little is known about the role of SAP102 in regulating synapse formation or spine morphology. We now find that SAP102 contains a novel NMDA receptor binding site in the N-terminal domain, which is specific for the NR2B subunit. The interaction between SAP102 and NR2B is PDZ domain-independent and is regulated by alternative splicing of SAP102. We show that SAP102 that possesses an N-terminal insert is developmentally regulated at both mRNA and protein levels. In addition, expression of SAP102 increases synapse formation. Furthermore, the alternative splicing of SAP102 regulates dendritic spine morphology. SAP102 containing the N-terminal insert promotes lengthening of dendritic spines and preferentially promotes the formation of synapses at long spines, whereas an shRNA knockdown of the same SAP102 splice variant causes spine shrinkage. Finally, blocking NMDA receptor activity prevents the spine lengthening induced by the N-terminal splice variant of SAP102. Thus, our data provide the first evidence that SAP102 links NMDA receptor activation to alterations in spine morphology.
PMCID: PMC3030119  PMID: 21209193
SAP102; NMDA; spine morphology; MAGUK; splice variants; PDZ proteins; glutamate receptors
4.  Growth Factor-Dependent Trafficking of Cerebellar NMDA Receptors Via Protein Kinase B/Akt Phosphorylation of NR2C 
Neuron  2009;62(4):471-478.
NMDA receptor subunit composition varies throughout the brain, providing molecular diversity in NMDA receptor function. The NR2 subunits (NR2A-D) in large part dictate the distinct functional properties of NMDA receptors and differentially regulate receptor trafficking. Although the NR2C subunit is highly enriched in cerebellar granule cells and plays a unique role in cerebellar function, little is known about NR2C-specific regulation of NMDA receptors. Here we demonstrate that PKB/Akt directly phosphorylates NR2C on serine 1096 (S1096). In addition, we identify 14-3-3ε as a novel NR2C interactor, whose binding is dependent on S1096 phosphorylation. Both growth factor stimulation and NMDA receptor activity lead to a robust increase in both phosphorylation of NR2C on S1096 and surface expression of cerebellar NMDA receptors. Finally, we find that NR2C expression, unlike NR2A and NR2B, supports neuronal survival. Thus, our data provide a direct mechanistic link between growth factor stimulation and regulation of cerebellar NMDA receptors.
PMCID: PMC2716006  PMID: 19477150
5.  miRNA-93 Inhibits GLUT4 and Is Overexpressed in Adipose Tissue of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Patients and Women With Insulin Resistance 
Diabetes  2013;62(7):2278-2286.
Approximately 70% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have intrinsic insulin resistance (IR) above and beyond that associated with body mass, including dysfunctional glucose metabolism in adipose tissue (AT). In AT, analysis of the IRS/PI3-K/AKT pathway signaling components identified only GLUT4 expression to be significantly lower in PCOS patients and in control subjects with IR. We examined the role of miRNAs, particularly in the regulation of GLUT4, the insulin-sensitive glucose transporter, in the AT of PCOS and matched control subjects. PCOS AT was determined to have a differentially expressed miRNA profile, including upregulated miR-93, -133, and -223. GLUT4 is a highly predicted target for miR-93, while miR-133 and miR-223 have been demonstrated to regulate GLUT4 expression in cardiomyocytes. Expression of miR-93 revealed a strong correlation between the homeostasis model assessment of IR in vivo values and GLUT4 and miR-93 but not miR-133 and -223 expression in human AT. Overexpression of miR-93 resulted in downregulation of GLUT4 gene expression in adipocytes through direct targeting of the GLUT4 3′UTR, while inhibition of miR-93 activity led to increased GLUT4 expression. These results point to a novel mechanism for regulating insulin-stimulated glucose uptake via miR-93 and demonstrate upregulated miR-93 expression in all PCOS, and in non-PCOS women with IR, possibly accounting for the IR of the syndrome. In contrast, miR-133 and miR-223 may have a different, although yet to be defined, role in the IR of PCOS.
PMCID: PMC3712080  PMID: 23493574
6.  Functional dependence of neuroligin on a new non-PDZ intracellular domain 
Nature neuroscience  2011;14(6):718-726.
Neuroligins, a family of postsynaptic adhesion molecules, are important in synaptogenesis through a well-characterized trans-synaptic interaction with neurexin. In addition, neuroligins are thought to drive postsynaptic assembly through binding of their intracellular domain to PSD-95. However, there is little direct evidence to support the functional necessity of the neuroligin intracellular domain in postsynaptic development. We found that presence of endogenous neuroligin obscured the study of exogenous mutated neuroligin. We therefore used chained microRNAs in rat organotypic hippocampal slices to generate a reduced background of endogenous neuroligin. On this reduced background, we found that neuroligin function was critically dependent on the cytoplasmic tail. However, this function required neither the PDZ ligand nor any other previously described cytoplasmic binding domain, but rather required a previously unknown conserved region. Mutation of a single critical residue in this region inhibited neuroligin-mediated excitatory synaptic potentiation. Finally, we found a functional distinction between neuroligins 1 and 3.
PMCID: PMC3171182  PMID: 21532576
7.  Dysbindin regulates hippocampal LTP by controlling NMDA receptor surface expression 
Abnormalities in NMDA receptor (NMDAR) function have been implicated in schizophrenia. Here we show that dysbindin, a schizophrenia-susceptibility gene widely expressed in the forebrain, controls the surface expression of NMDARs in a subunit-specific manner. Imaging analyses revealed a marked increase in surface NR2A, but not NR2B, in hippocampal neurons derived from dysbindin null mutant mice (Dys−/−). Exogenous expression of dysbindin reduced NR2A surface expression in both wild type and Dys−/− neurons. Biotinylation experiments also revealed an increase in surface expression of endogenous NR2A in Dys−/− neurons. Disruption of the dysbindin gene dramatically increased NR2A-mediated synaptic currents, without affecting AMPA receptor currents, in hippocampal CA1 neurons. The Dys−/− hippocampal slices exhibited an enhanced LTP, whereas basal synaptic transmission, presynaptic properties, and LTD were normal. Thus, dysbindin controls hippocampal LTP by selective regulation of the surface expression of NR2A. These results reveal subunit-specific regulation of NMDARs by dysbindin, providing an unexpected link between these two proteins implicated in schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC2795512  PMID: 19955431
8.  Regulation of NMDA Receptors by Phosphorylation 
Neuropharmacology  2007;53(3):362-368.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are critical for neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. The molecular mechanisms underlying the synaptic localization and functional regulation of NMDA receptors have been the subject of extensive studies. In particular, phosphorylation has emerged as a fundamental mechanism that regulates NMDA receptor trafficking and can alter the channel properties of NMDA receptors. Here we summarize recent advances in the characterization of NMDA receptor phosphorylation, emphasizing subunit-specific phosphorylation, which differentially controls the trafficking and surface expression of NMDA receptors.
PMCID: PMC2001266  PMID: 17644144
NMDA receptors; Phosphorylation; Kinase; Glutamate
9.  Functional Interaction between TFIIB and the Rpb2 Subunit of RNA Polymerase II: Implications for the Mechanism of Transcription Initiation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(9):3983-3991.
The general transcription factor TFIIB is required for accurate initiation, although the mechanism by which RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) identifies initiation sites is not well understood. Here we describe results from genetic and biochemical analyses of an altered form of yeast TFIIB containing an arginine-78 → cysteine (R78C) replacement in the “B-finger” domain. TFIIB R78C shifts start site selection downstream of normal and confers a cold-sensitive growth defect (Csm−). Suppression of the R78C Csm− phenotype identified a functional interaction between TFIIB and the Rpb2 subunit of RNAP II and defined a novel role for Rpb2 in start site selection. The rpb2 suppressor encodes a glycine-369 → serine (G369S) replacement, located in the “lobe” domain of Rpb2 and near the Rpb9 subunit, which was identified previously as an effector of start site selection. The Rpb2-Rpb9 “lobe-jaw” region of RNAP II is downstream of the catalytic center and distal to the site of RNAP II-TFIIB interaction. A TFIIB R78C mutant extract was defective for promoter-specific run-on transcription but yielded an altered pattern of abortive initiation products, indicating that the R78C defect does not preclude initiation. The sua7-3 rpb2-101 double mutant was sensitive to 6-azauracil in vivo and to nucleoside triphosphate substrate depletion in vitro. In the context of the recent X-ray structure of the yeast RNAP II-TFIIB complex, these results define a functional interaction between the B-finger domain of TFIIB and the distal lobe-jaw region of RNAP II and provide insight into the mechanism of start site selection.
PMCID: PMC387735  PMID: 15082791

Results 1-9 (9)