N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are major targets of both acute and chronic alcohol, as well as regulators of plasticity in a number of brain regions. Aberrant plasticity may contribute to the treatment resistance and high relapse rates observed in alcoholics. Recent work suggests that chronic alcohol treatment preferentially modulates both the expression and subcellular localization of NMDARs containing the GluN2B subunit. Signaling through synaptic and extrasynaptic GluN2B-NMDARs has already been implicated in the pathophysiology of various other neurological disorders. NMDARs interact with a large number of proteins at the glutamate synapse, and a better understanding of how alcohol modulates this proteome is needed. We employed a discovery-based proteomic approach in subcellular fractions of hippocampal tissue from chronic intermittent alcohol (CIE)-exposed C57Bl/6J mice to gain insight into alcohol-induced changes in GluN2B signaling complexes. Protein enrichment analyses revealed changes in the association of post-synaptic proteins, including scaffolding, glutamate receptor and PDZ-domain binding proteins with GluN2B. In particular, GluN2B interaction with metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor-dependent long-term depression (LTD)-associated proteins such as Arc and Homer 1 was increased, while GluA2 was decreased. Accordingly, we found a lack of mGlu -induced LTD while α -adrenergic receptor-induced LTD remained intact in hippocampal CA1 following CIE. These data suggest that CIE specifically disrupts mGlu -LTD, representing a possible connection between NMDAR and mGlu receptor signaling. These studies not only demonstrate a new way in which alcohol can modulate plasticity in the hippocampus but also emphasize the utility of this discovery-based proteomic approach to generate new hypotheses regarding alcohol-related mechanisms.
© 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.