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G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that couple to G proteins modulate neurotransmission presynaptically by inhibiting exocytosis. Release of Gβγ subunits from activated G proteins decreases the activity of voltage-gated Ca channels (VGCCs), decreasing excitability. A less understood Gβγ-mediated mechanism downstream of Ca entry is the binding of Gβγ to SNARE complexes, which facilitate the fusion of vesicles with the cell plasma membrane in exocytosis. Here, we generated mice expressing a form of the SNARE protein SNAP25 with premature truncation of the C terminus and that were therefore partially deficient in this interaction. SNAP25Δ3 homozygote mice exhibited normal presynaptic inhibition by GABA receptors, which inhibit VGCCs, but defective presynaptic inhibition by receptors that work directly on the SNARE complex, such as 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) 5-HT receptors and adrenergic α receptors. Simultaneously stimulating receptors that act through both mechanisms showed synergistic inhibitory effects. SNAP25Δ3 homozygote mice had various behavioral phenotypes, including increased stress-induced hyperthermia, defective spatial learning, impaired gait, and supraspinal nociception. These data suggest that the inhibition of exocytosis by G-coupled GPCRs through the Gβγ-SNARE interaction is a crucial component of numerous physiological and behavioral processes.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
OBJECTIVE - Seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) disturb brain networks and lead to connectivity disturbances. We previously hypothesised that recurrent seizures in TLE may lead to abnormal connections involving subcortical activating structures including the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS), contributing to neocortical dysfunction and neurocognitive impairments. However, no studies of ARAS connectivity have been previously reported in patients with epilepsy.
METHODS - We used resting-state functional MRI recordings in 27 patients with TLE (67% right sided) and 27 matched controls to examine functional connectivity (partial correlation) between eight brainstem ARAS structures and 105 cortical/subcortical regions. ARAS nuclei included: cuneiform/subcuneiform, dorsal raphe, locus coeruleus, median raphe, parabrachial complex, pontine oralis, pedunculopontine and ventral tegmental area. Connectivity patterns were related to disease and neuropsychological parameters.
RESULTS - In control subjects, regions showing highest connectivity to ARAS structures included limbic structures, thalamus and certain neocortical areas, which is consistent with prior studies of ARAS projections. Overall, ARAS connectivity was significantly lower in patients with TLE than controls (p<0.05, paired t-test), particularly to neocortical regions including insular, lateral frontal, posterior temporal and opercular cortex. Diminished ARAS connectivity to these regions was related to increased frequency of consciousness-impairing seizures (p<0.01, Pearson's correlation) and was associated with impairments in verbal IQ, attention, executive function, language and visuospatial memory on neuropsychological evaluation (p<0.05, Spearman's rho or Kendell's tau-b).
CONCLUSIONS - Recurrent seizures in TLE are associated with disturbances in ARAS connectivity, which are part of the widespread network dysfunction that may be related to neurocognitive problems in this devastating disorder.
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.
Commissural neurons project across the midline at all levels of the central nervous system (CNS), providing bilateral communication critical for the coordination of motor activity and sensory perception. Midline crossing at the spinal ventral midline has been extensively studied and has revealed that multiple developmental lineages contribute to this commissural neuron population. Ventral midline crossing occurs in a manner dependent on Robo3 regulation of Robo/Slit signaling and the ventral commissure is absent in the spinal cord and hindbrain of Robo3 mutants. Midline crossing in the spinal cord is not limited to the ventral midline, however. While prior anatomical studies provide evidence that commissural axons also cross the midline dorsally, little is known of the genetic and molecular properties of dorsally-crossing neurons or of the mechanisms that regulate dorsal midline crossing. In this study, we describe a commissural neuron population that crosses the spinal dorsal midline during the last quarter of embryogenesis in discrete fiber bundles present throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the spinal cord. Using immunohistochemistry, neurotracing, and mouse genetics, we show that this commissural neuron population includes spinal inhibitory neurons and sensory nociceptors. While the floor plate and roof plate are dispensable for dorsal midline crossing, we show that this population depends on Robo/Slit signaling yet crosses the dorsal midline in a Robo3-independent manner. The dorsally-crossing commissural neuron population we describe suggests a substrate circuitry for pain processing in the dorsal spinal cord.
The high-affinity choline transporter (CHT) is the rate-limiting determinant of acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis, yet the transporter remains a largely undeveloped target for the detection and manipulation of synaptic cholinergic signaling. To expand CHT pharmacology, we pursued a high-throughput screen for novel CHT-targeted small molecules based on the electrogenic properties of transporter-mediated choline transport. In this effort, we identified five novel, structural classes of CHT-specific inhibitors. Chemical diversification and functional analysis of one of these classes identified ML352 as a high-affinity (Ki = 92 nM) and selective CHT inhibitor. At concentrations that fully antagonized CHT in transfected cells and nerve terminal preparations, ML352 exhibited no inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) or cholineacetyltransferase (ChAT) and also lacked activity at dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transporters, as well as many receptors and ion channels. ML352 exhibited noncompetitive choline uptake inhibition in intact cells and synaptosomes and reduced the apparent density of hemicholinium-3 (HC-3) binding sites in membrane assays, suggesting allosteric transporter interactions. Pharmacokinetic studies revealed limited in vitro metabolism and significant CNS penetration, with features predicting rapid clearance. ML352 represents a novel, potent, and specific tool for the manipulation of CHT, providing a possible platform for the development of cholinergic imaging and therapeutic agents.
The striatum is the main input station of the basal ganglia and is extensively involved in the modulation of motivated behavior. The information conveyed to this subcortical structure through glutamatergic projections from the cerebral cortex and thalamus is processed by the activity of several striatal neuromodulatory systems including the cholinergic system. Acetylcholine potently modulates glutamate signaling in the striatum via activation of muscarinic receptors (mAChRs). It is, however, unclear which mAChR subtype is responsible for this modulatory effect. Here, by using electrophysiological, optogenetic, and immunoelectron microscopic approaches in conjunction with a novel, highly selective M4 positive allosteric modulator VU0152100 (ML108) and M4 knockout mice, we show that M4 is a major mAChR subtype mediating the cholinergic inhibition of corticostriatal glutamatergic input on both striatonigral and striatopallidal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). This effect is due to activation of presynaptic M4 receptors, which, in turn, leads to a decrease in glutamate release from corticostriatal terminals. The findings of the present study raise the interesting possibility that M4 mAChR could be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders involving hyper-glutamatergic transmission at corticostriatal synapses.
Recent successes in deriving human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) allow for the possibility of studying human neurons derived from patients with neurological diseases. Concomitant inhibition of the BMP and TGF-β1 branches of the TGF-β signaling pathways by the endogenous antagonist, Noggin, and the small molecule SB431542, respectively, induces efficient neuralization of hiPSCs, a method known as dual-SMAD inhibition. The use of small molecule inhibitors instead of their endogenous counterparts has several advantages including lower cost, consistent activity, and the maintenance of xeno-free culture conditions. We tested the efficacy of DMH1, a highly selective small molecule BMP-inhibitor for its potential to replace Noggin in the neuralization of hiPSCs. We compare Noggin and DMH1-induced neuralization of hiPSCs by measuring protein and mRNA levels of pluripotency and neural precursor markers over a period of seven days. The regulation of five of the six markers assessed was indistinguishable in the presence of concentrations of Noggin or DMH1 that have been shown to effectively inhibit BMP signaling in other systems. We observed that by varying the DMH1 or Noggin concentration, we could selectively modulate the number of SOX1 expressing cells, whereas PAX6, another neural precursor marker, remained the same. The level and timing of SOX1 expression have been shown to affect neural induction as well as neural lineage. Our observations, therefore, suggest that BMP-inhibitor concentrations need to be carefully monitored to ensure appropriate expression levels of all transcription factors necessary for the induction of a particular neuronal lineage. We further demonstrate that DMH1-induced neural progenitors can be differentiated into β3-tubulin expressing neurons, a subset of which also express tyrosine hydroxylase. Thus, the combined use of DMH1, a highly specific BMP-pathway inhibitor, and SB431542, a TGF-β1-pathway specific inhibitor, provides us with the tools to independently regulate these two pathways through the exclusive use of small molecule inhibitors.
The stop-signal task probes agents' ability to inhibit responding. A well-known race model affords estimation of the duration of the inhibition process. This powerful approach has yielded numerous insights into the neural circuitry underlying response control, the specificity of inhibition across effectors and response strategies, and executive processes such as performance monitoring. Translational research between human and non-human primates has been particularly useful in this venture. Continued progress with the stop-signal paradigm is contingent upon appreciating the dynamics of entire cortical and subcortical neural circuits and obtaining neurophysiological data from each node in the circuit. Progress can also be anticipated on extensions of the race model to account for selective stopping; we expect this will entail embedding behavioral inhibition in the broader context of executive control.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) serves executive cognitive functions such as decision-making that are impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders and pain. We showed previously that amygdala-driven abnormal inhibition and decreased output of mPFC pyramidal cells contribute to pain-related impaired decision-making (Ji et al., 2010). Therefore, modulating pyramidal output is desirable therapeutic goal. Targeting metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype mGluR5 has emerged as a cognitive-enhancing strategy in neuropsychiatric disorders, but synaptic and cellular actions of mGluR5 in the mPFC remain to be determined. The present study determined synaptic and cellular actions of mGluR5 to test the hypothesis that increasing mGluR5 function can enhance pyramidal cell output. Whole-cell voltage- and current-clamp recordings were made from visually identified pyramidal neurons in layer V of the mPFC in rat brain slices. Both the prototypical mGluR5 agonist CHPG and a positive allosteric modulator (PAM) for mGluR5 (VU0360172) increased synaptically evoked spiking (E-S coupling) in mPFC pyramidal cells. The facilitatory effects of CHPG and VU0360172 were inhibited by an mGluR5 antagonist (MTEP). CHPG, but not VU0360172, increased neuronal excitability (frequency-current [F-I] function). VU0360172, but not CHPG, increased evoked excitatory synaptic currents (EPSCs) and amplitude, but not frequency, of miniature EPSCs, indicating a postsynaptic action. VU0360172, but not CHPG, decreased evoked inhibitory synaptic currents (IPSCs) through an action that involved cannabinoid receptor CB1, because a CB1 receptor antagonist (AM281) blocked the inhibitory effect of VU0360172 on synaptic inhibition. VU0360172 also increased and prolonged CB1-mediated depolarization-induced suppression of synaptic inhibition (DSI). Activation of CB1 with ACEA decreased inhibitory transmission through a presynaptic mechanism. The results show that increasing mGluR5 function enhances mPFC output. This effect can be accomplished by increasing excitability with an orthosteric agonist (CHPG) or by increasing excitatory synaptic drive and CB1-mediated presynaptic suppression of synaptic inhibition ("dis-inhibition") with a PAM (VU0360172). Therefore, mGluR5 may be a useful target in conditions of impaired mPFC output. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors'.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In this paper, we asked to what extent the depth of interocular suppression engendered by continuous flash suppression (CFS) varies depending on spatiotemporal properties of the suppressed stimulus and CFS suppressor. An answer to this question could have implications for interpreting the results in which CFS influences the processing of different categories of stimuli to different extents. In a series of experiments, we measured the selectivity and depth of suppression (i.e., elevation in contrast detection thresholds) as a function of the visual features of the stimulus being suppressed and the stimulus evoking suppression, namely, the popular "Mondrian" CFS stimulus (N. Tsuchiya & C. Koch, 2005). First, we found that CFS differentially suppresses the spatial components of the suppressed stimulus: Observers' sensitivity for stimuli of relatively low spatial frequency or cardinally oriented features was more strongly impaired in comparison to high spatial frequency or obliquely oriented stimuli. Second, we discovered that this feature-selective bias primarily arises from the spatiotemporal structure of the CFS stimulus, particularly within information residing in the low spatial frequency range and within the smooth rather than abrupt luminance changes over time. These results imply that this CFS stimulus operates by selectively attenuating certain classes of low-level signals while leaving others to be potentially encoded during suppression. These findings underscore the importance of considering the contribution of low-level features in stimulus-driven effects that are reported under CFS.
When viewing a different stimulus with each eye, we experience the remarkable phenomenon of binocular rivalry: alternations in consciousness between the stimuli [1, 2]. According to a popular theory first proposed in 1901, neurons encoding the two stimuli engage in reciprocal inhibition [3-8] so that those processing one stimulus inhibit those processing the other, yielding consciousness of one dominant stimulus at any moment and suppressing the other. Also according to the theory, neurons encoding the dominant stimulus adapt, weakening their activity and the inhibition they can exert, whereas neurons encoding the suppressed stimulus recover from adaptation until the balance of activity reverses, triggering an alternation in consciousness. Despite its popularity, this theory has one glaring inconsistency with data: during an episode of suppression, visual sensitivity to brief probe stimuli in the dominant eye should decrease over time and should increase in the suppressed eye, yet sensitivity appears to be constant [9, 10]. Using more appropriate probe stimuli (experiment 1) in conjunction with a new method (experiment 2), we found that sensitivities in dominance and suppression do show the predicted complementary changes.
Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.