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1.  Arp2/3 complex inhibitors adversely affect actin cytoskeleton remodeling in the cultured murine kidney collecting duct M-1 cells 
Cell and tissue research  2013;354(3):10.1007/s00441-013-1710-y.
Dynamic remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton plays an essential role in cell migration and various signaling processes in the living cells. One of the critical factors that controls the nucleation of new actin filaments in eukaryotic cells is the actin related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex. Recently, two novel classes of small molecules that bind to different sites on the Arp2/3 complex and inhibit its ability to nucleate F-actin have been discovered and described. The current study was aimed at investigating the effects of CK-0944666 (CK-666) and its analogs (CK-869 and inactive CK-689) on the reorganization of the actin microfilaments in the cortical collecting duct cell line, M-1. We have shown that treatment with CK-666 and CK869 results in the reorganization of F-actin and drastically affects cell motility rate. The concentrations of the compounds used in this study (100-200 μM) neither cause loss of cell viability nor influence cell shape or monolayer integrity; hence the effects of described compounds were not due to the structural side effects. Therefore, we conclude here that the Arp2/3 complex plays an important role in cell motility and F-actin reorganization in M-1 cells. Furthermore, CK-666 and its analogs are useful tools for the investigation of the Arp2/3 complex.
doi:10.1007/s00441-013-1710-y
PMCID: PMC3850072  PMID: 24036843
Arp2/3 complex; actin filaments; CK-0944666; cell motility
2.  Cannabinoid receptors contribute to astroglial Ca2+-signalling and control of synaptic plasticity in the neocortex 
Communication between neuronal and glial cells is thought to be very important for many brain functions. Acting via release of gliotransmitters, astrocytes can modulate synaptic strength. The mechanisms underlying ATP release from astrocytes remain uncertain with exocytosis being the most intriguing and debated pathway. We have demonstrated that ATP and d-serine can be released from cortical astrocytes in situ by a SNARE-complex-dependent mechanism. Exocytosis of ATP from astrocytes can activate post-synaptic P2X receptors in the adjacent neurons, causing a downregulation of synaptic and extrasynaptic GABA receptors in cortical pyramidal neurons. We showed that release of gliotransmitters is important for the NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity in the neocortex. Firstly, induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) by five episodes of theta-burst stimulation (TBS) was impaired in the neocortex of dominant-negative (dn)-SNARE mice. The LTP was rescued in the dn-SNARE mice by application of exogenous non-hydrolysable ATP analogues. Secondly, we observed that weak sub-threshold stimulation (two TBS episodes) became able to induce LTP when astrocytes were additionally activated via CB-1 receptors. This facilitation was dependent on activity of ATP receptors and was abolished in the dn-SNARE mice. Our results strongly support the physiological relevance of glial exocytosis for glia–neuron communications and brain function.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0077
PMCID: PMC4173298  PMID: 25225106
glia–neuron interaction; endocannabinoid; LTP; vesicular release; synaptic current; d-serine
3.  Exocytosis of ATP From Astrocytes Modulates Phasic and Tonic Inhibition in the Neocortex 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(1):e1001747.
Astrocytes secrete ATP by exocytosis from synaptic-like vesicles, activating neuronal P2X receptors, which contribute to postsynaptic GABA receptor down-regulation, ultimately mediating the communication between astrocytes and neurons required for brain function.
Communication between neuronal and glial cells is important for many brain functions. Astrocytes can modulate synaptic strength via Ca2+-stimulated release of various gliotransmitters, including glutamate and ATP. A physiological role of ATP release from astrocytes was suggested by its contribution to glial Ca2+-waves and purinergic modulation of neuronal activity and sleep homeostasis. The mechanisms underlying release of gliotransmitters remain uncertain, and exocytosis is the most intriguing and debated pathway. We investigated release of ATP from acutely dissociated cortical astrocytes using “sniff-cell” approach and demonstrated that release is vesicular in nature and can be triggered by elevation of intracellular Ca2+ via metabotropic and ionotropic receptors or direct UV-uncaging. The exocytosis of ATP from neocortical astrocytes occurred in the millisecond time scale contrasting with much slower nonvesicular release of gliotransmitters via Best1 and TREK-1 channels, reported recently in hippocampus. Furthermore, we discovered that elevation of cytosolic Ca2+ in cortical astrocytes triggered the release of ATP that directly activated quantal purinergic currents in the pyramidal neurons. The glia-driven burst of purinergic currents in neurons was followed by significant attenuation of both synaptic and tonic inhibition. The Ca2+-entry through the neuronal P2X purinoreceptors led to phosphorylation-dependent down-regulation of GABAA receptors. The negative purinergic modulation of postsynaptic GABA receptors was accompanied by small presynaptic enhancement of GABA release. Glia-driven purinergic modulation of inhibitory transmission was not observed in neurons when astrocytes expressed dn-SNARE to impair exocytosis. The astrocyte-driven purinergic currents and glia-driven modulation of GABA receptors were significantly reduced in the P2X4 KO mice. Our data provide a key evidence to support the physiological importance of exocytosis of ATP from astrocytes in the neocortex.
Author Summary
Brain function depends on the interaction between two major types of cells: neurons transmitting electrical signals and glial cells, which control cerebral circulation and neuronal homeostasis. There is a growing evidence of the participation of astrocytes in regulating neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity via the release of “gliotransmitters,” which include glutamate and ATP. The importance of ATP release from astrocytes was suggested by studies that demonstrated its contribution to neuronal activity and sleep homeostasis via modulation of known “purinergic” receptors. But the mechanisms underlying gliotransmitter release and the physiological significance of direct glia-to-neuron communication remain unknown and intensively debated. Here, we investigate the release of ATP from astrocytes of brain neocortex and demonstrate that astrocytes can release ATP by Ca2+-dependent exocytosis, most likely from synaptic-like microvesicles. We also find that vesicular release of ATP from astrocytes can directly activate excitatory signaling in the neighboring neurons, operating through purinergic P2X receptors. We saw that activation of these P2X receptors by astrocyte-driven ATP down-regulated the inhibitory synaptic signaling in the neocortical neurons. Our results imply that exocytosis of gliotransmitters is important for the communication between astrocytes and neurons in the neocortex.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001747
PMCID: PMC3883644  PMID: 24409095
4.  Modulation of ATP-induced LTP by cannabinoid receptors in rat hippocampus 
Purinergic Signalling  2012;8(4):705-713.
Cannabinoids exert powerful action on various forms of synaptic plasticity. These retrograde messengers modulate GABA and glutamate release from presynaptic terminals by acting on presynaptic CB1 receptors. In particular, they inhibit long-term potentiation (LTP) elicited by electrical stimulation of excitatory pathways in rat hippocampus. Recently, LTP of the field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) induced by exogenous ATP has been thoroughly explored. The present study demonstrates that cannabinoids inhibit ATP-induced LTP in hippocampal slices of rat. Administration of 10 μM of ATP led to strong inhibition of fEPSPs in CA1/CA3 hippocampal synapses. Within 40 min after ATP removal from bath solution, robust LTP was observed (fEPSP amplitude comprised 130.1 ± 3.8% of control, n = 10). This LTP never appeared when ATP was applied in addition to cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (100 nM). Selective CB1 receptor antagonist, AM251 (500 nM), completely abolished this effect of WIN55,212-2. Our data indicate that like canonical LTP elicited by electrical stimulation, ATP-induced LTP is under control of CB1 receptors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9296-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9296-5
PMCID: PMC3486163  PMID: 22453905
LTP; ATP; Cannabinoids; WIN; Adenosine
5.  Voltage-gated Nav channel targeting in the heart requires an ankyrin-G–dependent cellular pathway 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;180(1):173-186.
Voltage-gated Nav channels are required for normal electrical activity in neurons, skeletal muscle, and cardiomyocytes. In the heart, Nav1.5 is the predominant Nav channel, and Nav1.5-dependent activity regulates rapid upstroke of the cardiac action potential. Nav1.5 activity requires precise localization at specialized cardiomyocyte membrane domains. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying Nav channel trafficking in the heart are unknown. In this paper, we demonstrate that ankyrin-G is required for Nav1.5 targeting in the heart. Cardiomyocytes with reduced ankyrin-G display reduced Nav1.5 expression, abnormal Nav1.5 membrane targeting, and reduced Na+ channel current density. We define the structural requirements on ankyrin-G for Nav1.5 interactions and demonstrate that loss of Nav1.5 targeting is caused by the loss of direct Nav1.5–ankyrin-G interaction. These data are the first report of a cellular pathway required for Nav channel trafficking in the heart and suggest that ankyrin-G is critical for cardiac depolarization and Nav channel organization in multiple excitable tissues.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200710107
PMCID: PMC2213608  PMID: 18180363
6.  The MK2/3 cascade regulates AMPAR trafficking and cognitive flexibility 
Nature Communications  2014;5:4701.
The interplay between long-term potentiation and long-term depression (LTD) is thought to be involved in learning and memory formation. One form of LTD expressed in the hippocampus is initiated by the activation of the group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Importantly, mGluRs have been shown to be critical for acquisition of new memories and for reversal learning, processes that are thought to be crucial for cognitive flexibility. Here we provide evidence that MAPK-activated protein kinases 2 and 3 (MK2/3) regulate neuronal spine morphology, synaptic transmission and plasticity. Furthermore, mGluR-LTD is impaired in the hippocampus of MK2/3 double knockout (DKO) mice, an observation that is mirrored by deficits in endocytosis of GluA1 subunits. Consistent with compromised mGluR-LTD, MK2/3 DKO mice have distinctive deficits in hippocampal-dependent spatial reversal learning. These novel findings demonstrate that the MK2/3 cascade plays a strategic role in controlling synaptic plasticity and cognition.
MK2/3 kinases are both highly expressed in the hippocampus and cortex of the brain, but their role is unclear. Here Eales et al. show that MK2/3 signalling regulates dendritic spine morphology and is required for synaptic plasticity via the regulation of AMPA receptor trafficking, and cognitive processes.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5701
PMCID: PMC4143933  PMID: 25134715

Results 1-6 (6)