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Highly selective, positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the M subtype of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor have emerged as an exciting new approach to potentially improve cognitive function in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Discovery programs have produced a structurally diverse range of M receptor PAMs with distinct pharmacological properties, including different extents of agonist activity and differences in signal bias. This includes biased M receptor PAMs that can potentiate coupling of the receptor to activation of phospholipase C (PLC) but not phospholipase D (PLD). However, little is known about the role of PLD in M receptor signaling in native systems, and it is not clear whether biased M PAMs display differences in modulating M-mediated responses in native tissue. Using PLD inhibitors and PLD knockout mice, we showed that PLD was necessary for the induction of M-dependent long-term depression (LTD) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Furthermore, biased M PAMs that did not couple to PLD not only failed to potentiate orthosteric agonist-induced LTD but also blocked M-dependent LTD in the PFC. In contrast, biased and nonbiased M PAMs acted similarly in potentiating M-dependent electrophysiological responses that were PLD independent. These findings demonstrate that PLD plays a critical role in the ability of M PAMs to modulate certain central nervous system (CNS) functions and that biased M PAMs function differently in brain regions implicated in cognition.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Three SNARE proteins, SNAP-25, syntaxin 1A, and VAMP2 or synaptobrevin 2, constitute the minimal functional machinery needed for the regulated secretion of neurotransmitters. Dynamic changes in the regulated release of neurotransmitters are associated with the induction of long-term plasticity at central synapses. In-vitro studies have validated the C-terminus of SNAP-25 as a target for inhibitory Gi/o-coupled G-protein coupled receptors at a number of synapses. The physiological consequences of the interaction between Gi/o proteins and SNAP-25 in the context of activity-dependent long-term synaptic plasticity are not well understood. Here, we report direct ex-vivo evidence of the involvement of the C-terminus of SNAP-25 in inducing long-term potentiation of synaptic strength at Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses using a gene-targeted mouse model with truncated C-terminus (carboxyl terminus) of SNAP-25. It has been shown previously that truncation of the three extreme C-terminal residues in SNAP-25[INCREMENT]3 homozygote mice reduces its interaction with the inhibitory Gβγ subunits two-fold. In in-vitro hippocampal slices, we show that these SNAP-25[INCREMENT]3 mice express significantly larger magnitude of long-term potentiation at hippocampal Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses.
Debilitating perceptual disorders including tinnitus, hyperacusis, phantom limb pain and visual release hallucinations may reflect aberrant patterns of neural activity in central sensory pathways following a loss of peripheral sensory input. Here, we explore short- and long-term changes in gene expression that may contribute to hyperexcitability following a sudden, profound loss of auditory input from one ear. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization to quantify mRNA levels for genes encoding AMPA and GABA receptor subunits (Gria2 and Gabra1, respectively) in single neurons from the inferior colliculus (IC) and auditory cortex (ACtx). Thirty days after unilateral hearing loss, Gria2 levels were significantly increased while Gabra1 levels were significantly decreased. Transcriptional rebalancing was more pronounced in ACtx than IC and bore no obvious relationship to the degree of hearing loss. By contrast to the opposing, synergistic shifts in Gria2 and Gabra1 observed 30 days after hearing loss, we found that transcription levels for both genes were equivalently reduced after 5 days of hearing loss, producing no net change in the excitatory/inhibitory transcriptional balance. Opposing transcriptional shifts in AMPA and GABA receptor genes that emerge several weeks after a peripheral insult could promote both sensitization and disinhibition to support a homeostatic recovery of neural activity following auditory deprivation. Imprecise transcriptional changes could also drive the system toward perceptual hypersensitivity, degraded temporal processing and the irrepressible perception of non-existent environmental stimuli, a trio of perceptual impairments that often accompany chronic sensory deprivation.
Copyright © 2018 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is critical for establishing activity-related neural plasticity. There is increasing interest in the mechanisms of active avoidance and its extinction, but little is known about the role of BDNF in these processes. Using the platform-mediated avoidance task combined with local infusions of an antibody against BDNF, we show that blocking BDNF in either prelimbic (PL) or infralimbic (IL) medial prefrontal cortex during extinction training impairs subsequent recall of extinction of avoidance, differing from extinction of conditioned freezing. By combining retrograde tracers with BDNF immunohistochemistry, we show that extinction of avoidance increases BDNF expression in ventral hippocampal (vHPC) neurons, but not amygdala neurons, projecting to PL and IL. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, we further show that reducing BDNF production in vHPC neurons impairs recall of avoidance extinction. Thus, the vHPC may mediate behavioral flexibility in avoidance by driving extinction-related plasticity via BDNFergic projections to both PL and IL. These findings add to the growing body of knowledge implicating the hippocampal-prefrontal pathway in anxiety-related disorders and extinction-based therapies.
Voltage-gated ion channels are critical for neuronal integration. Some of these channels, however, are misregulated in several neurological disorders, causing both gain- and loss-of-function channelopathies in neurons. Using several transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we find that sub-threshold voltage signals strongly influenced by hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels progressively deteriorate over chronological aging in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. The degraded signaling via HCN channels in the transgenic mice is accompanied by an age-related global loss of their non-uniform dendritic expression. Both the aberrant signaling via HCN channels and their mislocalization could be restored using a variety of pharmacological agents that target the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Our rescue of the HCN channelopathy helps provide molecular details into the favorable outcomes of ER-targeting drugs on the pathogenesis and synaptic/cognitive deficits in AD mouse models, and implies that they might have beneficial effects on neurological disorders linked to HCN channelopathies.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Developing efficacious treatments for alcohol use disorder (AUD) has proven difficult. The insidious nature of the disease necessitates a deep understanding of its underlying biology as well as innovative approaches to ameliorate ethanol-related pathophysiology. Excessive ethanol seeking and relapse are generated by long-term changes to membrane properties, synaptic physiology, and plasticity throughout the limbic system and associated brain structures. Each of these factors can be modulated by metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors, a diverse set of G protein-coupled receptors highly expressed throughout the central nervous system. Here, we discuss how different components of the mGlu receptor family modulate neurotransmission in the limbic system and other brain regions involved in AUD etiology. We then describe how these processes are dysregulated following ethanol exposure and speculate about how mGlu receptor modulation might restore such pathophysiological changes. To that end, we detail the current understanding of the behavioral pharmacology of mGlu receptor-directed drug-like molecules in animal models of AUD. Together, this review highlights the prominent position of the mGlu receptor system in the pathophysiology of AUD and provides encouragement that several classes of mGlu receptor modulators may be translated as viable treatment options.
Glutamatergic transmission in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAcSh) is a substrate for reward learning and motivation. Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors regulate NAcSh synaptic strength by inducing long-term depression (LTD). Inputs from prefrontal cortex (PFC) and medio-dorsal thalamus (MDT) drive opposing motivated behaviors yet mGlu receptor regulation of these synapses is unexplored. We examined Group I mGlu receptor regulation of PFC and MDT glutamatergic synapses onto specific populations of NAc medium spiny neurons (MSNs) using D1tdTom BAC transgenic mice and optogenetics. Synaptically evoked long-term depression (LTD) at MDT-NAcSh synapses required mGlu but not mGlu and was specific for D1(+) MSNs, whereas PFC LTD was expressed at both D1(+) and D1(-) MSNs and required mGlu but not mGlu. Two weeks after five daily non-contingent cocaine exposures (15 mg/kg), LTD was attenuated at MDT-D1(+) synapses but was rescued by the mGlu5-positive allosteric modulator (PAM) VU0409551. These results highlight unique plasticity mechanisms regulating specific NAcSh synapses.
Purpose - Mammalian central nervous system axons fail to regenerate after injury. Contributing factors include limited intrinsic growth capacity and an inhibitory glial environment. Inflammation-induced optic nerve regeneration (IIR) is thought to boost retinal ganglion cell (RGC) intrinsic growth capacity through progrowth gene expression, but effects on the inhibitory glial environment of the optic nerve are unexplored. To investigate progrowth molecular changes associated with reactive gliosis during IIR, we developed an imaging mass spectrometry (IMS)-based approach that identifies discriminant molecular signals in and around optic nerve crush (ONC) sites.
Methods - ONC was performed in rats, and IIR was established by intravitreal injection of a yeast cell wall preparation. Optic nerves were collected at various postcrush intervals, and longitudinal sections were analyzed with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) IMS and data mining. Immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy were used to compare discriminant molecular features with cellular features of reactive gliosis.
Results - IIR increased the area of the crush site that was occupied by a dense cellular infiltrate and mass spectral features consistent with lysosome-specific lipids. IIR also increased immunohistochemical labeling for microglia and macrophages. IIR enhanced clearance of lipid sulfatide myelin-associated inhibitors of axon growth and accumulation of simple GM3 gangliosides in a spatial distribution consistent with degradation of plasma membrane from degenerated axons.
Conclusions - IIR promotes a robust phagocytic response that improves clearance of myelin and axon debris. This growth-permissive molecular remodeling of the crush injury site extends our current understanding of IIR to include mechanisms extrinsic to the RGC.
Hilar mossy cells (HMCs) in the hippocampus receive glutamatergic input from dentate granule cells (DGCs) via mossy fibers (MFs) and back-projections from CA3 pyramidal neuron collateral axons. Many fundamental features of these excitatory synapses have not been characterized in detail despite their potential relevance to hippocampal cognitive processing and epilepsy-induced adaptations in circuit excitability. In this study, we compared pre- and postsynaptic parameters between MF and CA3 inputs to HMCs in young and adult mice of either sex and determined the relative contributions of the respective excitatory inputs during and models of hippocampal hyperexcitability. The two types of excitatory synapses both exhibited a modest degree of short-term plasticity, with MF inputs to HMCs exhibiting lower paired-pulse (PP) and frequency facilitation than was described previously for MF-CA3 pyramidal cell synapses. MF-HMC synapses exhibited unitary excitatory synaptic currents (EPSCs) of larger amplitude, contained postsynaptic kainate receptors, and had a lower NMDA/AMPA receptor ratio compared to CA3-HMC synapses. Pharmacological induction of hippocampal hyperexcitability transformed the abundant but relatively weak CA3-HMC connections to very large amplitude spontaneous bursts of compound EPSCs (cEPSCs) in young mice (∼P20) and, to a lesser degree, in adult mice (∼P70). CA3-HMC cEPSCs were also observed in slices prepared from mice with spontaneous seizures several weeks after intrahippocampal kainate injection. Strong excitation of HMCs during synchronous CA3 activity represents an avenue of significant excitatory network generation back to DGCs and might be important in generating epileptic networks.