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Although the use of model systems for studying the mechanism of mutations that have a large effect is common, we highlight here the ways that zebrafish-model-system studies of a gene, GRIK5, that contributes to the polygenic liability to develop eye diseases have helped to illuminate a mechanism that implicates vascular biology in eye disease. A gene-expression prediction derived from a reference transcriptome panel applied to BioVU, a large electronic health record (EHR)-linked biobank at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, implicated reduced GRIK5 expression in diverse eye diseases. We tested the function of GRIK5 by depletion of its ortholog in zebrafish, and we observed reduced blood vessel numbers and integrity in the eye and increased vascular permeability. Analyses of EHRs in >2.6 million Vanderbilt subjects revealed significant comorbidity of eye and vascular diseases (relative risks 2-15); this comorbidity was confirmed in 150 million individuals from a large insurance claims dataset. Subsequent studies in >60,000 genotyped BioVU participants confirmed the association of reduced genetically predicted expression of GRIK5 with comorbid vascular and eye diseases. Our studies pioneer an approach that allows a rapid iteration of the discovery of gene-phenotype relationships to the primary genetic mechanism contributing to the pathophysiology of human disease. Our findings also add dimension to the understanding of the biology driven by glutamate receptors such as GRIK5 (also referred to as GLUK5 in protein form) and to mechanisms contributing to human eye diseases.
Copyright © 2019 American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dysregulated fear memory can lead to a broad spectrum of anxiety disorders. The brain systems underlying fear memory are manifold, with the hippocampus being prominently involved by housing fear-related spatial memories as engrams, which are created and stored through neural changes such as synaptic plasticity. Although metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors contribute significantly to both fear behavior and hippocampal synaptic plasticity, the relationship between these two phenomena has not been fully elucidated. Here, we report that contextual fear extinction induces a novel form of metaplasticity mediated by mGlu5 at the hippocampal SC-CA1 synapse. Further, blockade of mGlu5 prevents both contextual fear extinction and expression of this metaplasticity. This form of metaplasticity was absent in a mouse model of MECP2-duplication syndrome, corresponding to a complete deficit in extinction learning. These findings suggest that mGlu5-dependent metaplasticity within the hippocampus may play a critical role in extinction of contextual fear.
Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate excitatory neurotransmission crucial for brain development and function, including learning and memory formation. Recently a wealth of structural studies on iGluRs including AMPA receptors (AMPARs), kainate receptors, and NMDA receptors (NMDARs) became available. These studies showed structures of non-NMDARs including AMPAR and kainate receptor in various functional states, thereby providing the first visual sense of how non-NMDAR iGluRs may function in the context of homotetramers. Furthermore, they provided the first view of heterotetrameric NMDAR ion channels, and this illuminated the similarities with and differences from non-NMDARs, thus raising a mechanistic distinction between the two groups of iGluRs. We review mechanistic insights into iGluR functions gained through structural studies of multiple groups.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Seizures are a known co-occurring symptom of Alzheimer's disease, and they can accelerate cognitive and neuropathological dysfunction. Sub-optimal vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency, that is low levels that do not lead the sufferer to present with clinical signs of scurvy (e.g. lethargy, hemorrhage, hyperkeratosis), are easily obtainable with insufficient dietary intake, and may contribute to the oxidative stress environment of both Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. The purpose of this study was to test whether mice that have diminished brain ascorbic acid in addition to carrying human Alzheimer's disease mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin 1 (PSEN1) genes, had altered electrical activity in the brain (electroencephalography; EEG), and were more susceptible to pharmacologically induced seizures. Brain ascorbic acid was decreased in APP/PSEN1 mice by crossing them with sodium vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT2) heterozygous knockout mice. These mice have an approximately 30% decrease in brain ascorbic acid due to lower levels of SVCT2 that supplies the brain with ASC. SVCT2+/-APP/PSEN1 mice had decreased ascorbic acid and increased oxidative stress in brain, increased mortality, faster seizure onset latency following treatment with kainic acid (10 mg/kg i.p.), and more ictal events following pentylenetetrazol (50 mg/kg i.p.) treatment. Furthermore, we report the entirely novel phenomenon that ascorbic acid deficiency alone increased the severity of kainic acid- and pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures. These data suggest that avoiding ascorbic acid deficiency may be particularly important in populations at increased risk for epilepsy and seizures, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) mediate the majority of fast excitatory signaling in the nervous system. Despite the profound importance of iGluRs to neurotransmission, little is known about the structures and dynamics of intact receptors in distinct functional states. Here, we elucidate the structures of the intact GluA2 AMPA receptor in an apo resting/closed state, in an activated/pre-open state bound with partial agonists and a positive allosteric modulator, and in a desensitized/closed state in complex with fluorowilliardiine. To probe the conformational properties of these states, we carried out double electron-electron resonance experiments on cysteine mutants and cryoelectron microscopy studies. We show how agonist binding modulates the conformation of the ligand-binding domain "layer" of the intact receptors and how, upon desensitization, the receptor undergoes large conformational rearrangements of the amino-terminal and ligand-binding domains. We define mechanistic principles by which to understand antagonism, activation, and desensitization in AMPA iGluRs.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - While dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays a well-established role in motivating cocaine use in early nonaddicted stages, recent evidence suggests that other signaling pathways may be critical once addiction has developed. Given the importance of glutamatergic signaling in the NAc for drug seeking and relapse, here we examined its role in motivating cocaine self-administration under conditions known to produce either a nonaddicted or an addicted phenotype.
METHODS - Following acquisition, male and female Sprague Dawley rats were given either short access (three fixed-ratio 1 sessions, 20 infusions/day) or extended 24-hour access (10 days; 4 trials/hour; up to 96 infusions/day) to cocaine. Following a 14-day abstinence period, motivation for cocaine was assessed under a progressive-ratio schedule, and once stable, the effects of intra-NAc infusions of the glutamate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate/kainate receptor antagonist CNQX (0, .01, .03, .1 μg/side) were determined. As an additional measure for the development of an addicted phenotype, separate groups of rats were screened under an extinction/cue-induced reinstatement procedure following abstinence from short-access versus extended-access self-administration.
RESULTS - Motivation for cocaine and levels of extinction and reinstatement responding were markedly higher following extended-access versus short-access self-administration, confirming the development of an addicted phenotype in the extended-access group. CNQX dose-dependently reduced motivation for cocaine in the extended-access group but was without effect in the short-access group.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that the role of glutamatergic signaling in the NAc, though not essential for motivating cocaine use in nonaddicted stages, becomes critical once addiction has developed.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
AMPA receptor (AMPA-R) complexes consist of channel-forming subunits, GluA1-4, and auxiliary proteins, including TARPs, CNIHs, synDIG1, and CKAMP44, which can modulate AMPA-R function in specific ways. The combinatorial effects of four GluA subunits binding to various auxiliary subunits amplify the functional diversity of AMPA-Rs. The significance and magnitude of molecular diversity, however, remain elusive. To gain insight into the molecular complexity of AMPA and kainate receptors, we compared the proteins that copurify with each receptor type in the rat brain. This interactome study identified the majority of known interacting proteins and, more importantly, provides candidates for additional studies. We validate the claudin homolog GSG1L as a newly identified binding protein and unique modulator of AMPA-R gating, as determined by detailed molecular, cellular, electrophysiological, and biochemical experiments. GSG1L extends the functional variety of AMPA-R complexes, and further investigation of other candidates may reveal additional complexity of ionotropic glutamate receptor function.
Copyright © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The central dogma of molecular biology defines the major route for the transfer of genetic information from genomic DNA to messenger RNA to three-dimensional proteins that affect structure and function. Like alternative splicing, the post-transcriptional conversion of adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) by RNA editing can dramatically expand the diversity of the transcriptome to generate multiple, functionally distinct protein isoforms from a single genomic locus. While RNA editing has been identified in virtually all tissues, such post-transcriptional modifications have been best characterized in RNAs encoding both ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors. These RNA processing events have been shown to play an important role in the function of the encoded protein products and, in several cases, have been shown to be critical for the normal development and function of the nervous system.
Pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, but not COX-1, has been shown to increase susceptibility to kainic acid (KA)-induced excitotoxicity. However, it is unclear if susceptibility to excitotoxins that act through other neurotransmitter receptors is altered by COX-2 inhibition. To further understand the involvement of COX-2 in regulating susceptibility to excitotoxicity, we investigated the effect of COX-2 deletion on excitotoxicity induced by peripheral injection of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA, a specific agonist of the NMDA receptors) or lindane (a GABA(A) receptor antagonist). COX-2(-/-) mice injected intraperitoneally with NMDA (50-100mg/kg) exhibited significantly increased median seizure intensity when compared to COX-2(+/+) mice. Further, COX-2(-/-) mice exposed to NMDA showed neuronal damage, detected by Fluoro Jade B (FJB) staining, in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. There was no FJB staining nor any significant difference in median or maximal seizure intensity in COX-2(+/+) and COX-2(-/-) mice exposed to lindane. LC-MS/MS analysis of brain prostaglandin profile in COX-2(-/-) mice demonstrated a significant increase in PGF(2alpha), TXB(2), PGE(2) and PGD(2) expression 1h after administration of an excitotoxic dose of KA, but not of NMDA. Our findings demonstrate that COX-2 regulates susceptibility to KA and NMDA excitotoxicity, which directly activate glutamatergic neurotransmission, but not to lindane, which indirectly alters glutamatergic neurotransmission. Furthermore, increased levels of prostaglandins after seizures are associated with consistent manifestation of neuronal damage.
We have previously shown that seizures induce the formation of F(2)-isoprostanes (F(2)-IsoPs), one of the most reliable indices of oxidative stress in vivo. Isofurans (IsoFs) are novel products of lipid peroxidation whose formation is favored by high oxygen tensions. In contrast, high oxygen tensions suppress the formation of F(2)-IsoPs. The present study determined seizure-induced formation of IsoFs and its relationship with cellular oxygen levels (pO2). Status epilepticus (SE) resulted in F(2)-IsoP and IsoF formation, with overlapping but distinct time courses in hippocampal subregions. IsoF, but not F(2)-IsoP formation coincided with mitochondrial oxidative stress. SE resulted in a transient decrease in hippocampal pO2 measured by in vivo electron paramagnetic resonance oximetry suggesting an early phase of seizure-induced hypoxia. Seizure-induced F(2)-IsoP formation coincided with the peak hypoxia phase, whereas IsoF formation coincided with the 'reoxygenation' phase. These results demonstrate seizure-induced increase in IsoF formation and its correlation with changes in hippocampal pO2 and mitochondrial dysfunction.