The Rab5 guanylate exchange factor Rin1 regulates endocytosis of the EphA4 receptor in mature excitatory neurons.
ABSTRACT: Ephrin signaling through Eph receptor tyrosine kinases regulates important morphogenetic events during development and synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. Although Eph-ephrin endocytosis is required for repulsive axon guidance, its role in postnatal brain and synaptic plasticity is unknown. Here, we show that Rin1, a postnatal brain-specific Rab5-GEF, is coexpressed with EphA4 in excitatory neurons and interacts with EphA4 in synaptosomal fractions. The interaction of Rin1 and EphA4 requires Rin1's SH2 domain, consistent with the view that Rin1 targets tyrosine phosphorylated receptors to Rab5 compartments. We find that Rin1 mediates EphA4 endocytosis in postnatal amygdala neurons after engagement of EphA4 with its cognate ligand ephrinB3. Rin1 was shown to suppress synaptic plasticity in the amygdala, a forebrain structure important for fear learning, possibly by internalizing synaptic receptors. We find that the EphA4 receptor is required for synaptic plasticity in the amygdala, raising the possibility that an underlying mechanism of Rin1 function in amygdala is to down-regulate EphA4 signaling by promoting its endocytosis.
Project description:Ras and Rab interactor 1 (RIN1) is predominantly expressed in the nervous system. RIN1-knockout animals have deficits in latent inhibition and fear extinction in the amygdala, suggesting a critical role for RIN1 in preventing the persistence of unpleasant memories. At the molecular level, RIN1 signals through Rab5 GTPases that control endocytosis of cell-surface receptors and Abl nonreceptor tyrosine kinases that participate in actin cytoskeleton remodeling. Here we report that RIN1 controls the plasticity of cultured mouse hippocampal neurons. Our results show that RIN1 affects the morphology of dendritic protrusions and accelerates dendritic filopodial motility through an Abl kinase-dependent pathway. Lack of RIN1 results in enhanced mEPSC amplitudes, indicating an increase in surface AMPA receptor levels compared with wild-type neurons. We further provide evidence that the Rab5 GEF activity of RIN1 regulates surface GluA1 subunit endocytosis. Consequently loss of RIN1 blocks surface AMPA receptor down-regulation evoked by chemically induced long-term depression. Our findings indicate that RIN1 destabilizes synaptic connections and is a key player in postsynaptic AMPA receptor endocytosis, providing multiple ways of negatively regulating memory stabilization during neuronal plasticity.
Project description:Astrocytes are critical participants in synapse development and function, but their role in synaptic plasticity is unclear. Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands have been suggested to regulate neuron-glia interactions, and EphA4-mediated ephrin reverse signaling is required for synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Here we show that long-term potentiation (LTP) at the CA3-CA1 synapse is modulated by EphA4 in the postsynaptic CA1 cell and by ephrin-A3, a ligand of EphA4 that is found in astrocytes. Lack of EphA4 increased the abundance of glial glutamate transporters, and ephrin-A3 modulated transporter currents in astrocytes. Pharmacological inhibition of glial glutamate transporters rescued the LTP defects in EphA4 (Epha4) and ephrin-A3 (Efna3) mutant mice. Transgenic overexpression of ephrin-A3 in astrocytes reduces glutamate transporter levels and produces focal dendritic swellings possibly caused by glutamate excitotoxicity. These results suggest that EphA4/ephrin-A3 signaling is a critical mechanism for astrocytes to regulate synaptic function and plasticity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is initiated by the formation of postsynaptic specializations in the central zones of muscles, followed by the arrival of motor nerve terminals opposite the postsynaptic regions. The post- and presynaptic components are then stabilized and modified to form mature synapses. Roles of ADAM (A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease) family proteins in the formation of the NMJ have not been reported previously.<h4>Principal findings</h4>We report here that Meltrin beta, ADAM19, participates in the formation of the NMJ. The zone of acetylcholine receptor alpha mRNA distribution was broader and excess sprouting of motor nerve terminals was more prominent in meltrin beta-deficient than in wild-type embryonic diaphragms. A microarray analysis revealed that the preferential distribution of ephrin-A5 mRNA in the synaptic region of muscles was aberrant in the meltrin beta-deficient muscles. Excess sprouting of motor nerve terminals was also found in ephrin-A5 knockout mice, which lead us to investigate a possible link between Meltrin beta and ephrin-A5-Eph signaling in the development of the NMJ. Meltrin beta and EphA4 interacted with each other in developing motor neurons, and both of these proteins localized in the NMJ. Coexpression of Meltrin beta and EphA4 strongly blocked vesicular internalization of ephrin-A5-EphA4 complexes without requiring the protease activity of Meltrin beta, suggesting a regulatory role of Meltrin beta in ephrin-A5-Eph signaling.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Meltrin beta plays a regulatory role in formation of the NMJ. The endocytosis of ephrin-Eph complexes is required for efficient contact-dependent repulsion between ephrin and Eph. We propose that Meltrin beta stabilizes the interaction between ephrin-A5 and EphA4 by regulating endocytosis of the ephrinA5-EphA complex negatively, which would contribute to the fine-tuning of the NMJ during development.
Project description:The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases regulate a variety of physiological and pathological processes not only during development but also in adult organs, and therefore they represent a promising class of drug targets. The EphA4 receptor plays important roles in the inhibition of the regeneration of injured axons, synaptic plasticity, platelet aggregation, and likely in certain types of cancer. Here we report the first crystal structure of the EphA4 ligand-binding domain, which adopts the same jellyroll beta-sandwich architecture as shown previously for EphB2 and EphB4. The similarity with EphB receptors is high in the core beta-stranded regions, whereas large variations exist in the loops, particularly the D-E and J-K loops, which form the high affinity ephrin binding channel. We also used isothermal titration calorimetry, NMR spectroscopy, and computational docking to characterize the binding to EphA4 of two small molecules, 4- and 5-(2,5 dimethyl-pyrrol-1-yl)-2-hydroxybenzoic acid which antagonize ephrin-induced effects in EphA4-expressing cells. We show that the two molecules bind to the EphA4 ligand-binding domain with K(d) values of 20.4 and 26.4 microm, respectively. NMR heteronuclear single quantum coherence titrations revealed that upon binding, both molecules significantly perturb EphA4 residues Ile(31)-Met(32) in the D-E loop, Gln(43) in the E beta-strand, and Ile(131)-Gly(132) in the J-K loop. Molecular docking shows that they can occupy a cavity in the high affinity ephrin binding channel of EphA4 in a similar manner, by interacting mainly with the EphA4 residues in the E strand and D-E and J-K loops. However, many of the interactions observed in Eph receptor-ephrin complexes are absent, which is consistent with the small size of the two molecules and may account for their relatively weak binding affinity. Thus, our studies provide the first published structure of the ligand-binding domain of an EphA receptor of the A subclass. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that the high affinity ephrin binding channel of the Eph receptors is amenable to targeting with small molecule antagonists and suggest avenues for further optimization.
Project description:The amygdala is known to have a crucial role in both the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear, but the physiological changes and biochemical mechanisms underlying these forms of learning are only partly understood. The Ras effector Rin1 activates Abl tyrosine kinases and Rab5 GTPases and is highly expressed in mature neurons of the telencephalon including the amygdala, where it inhibits the acquisition of fear memories (Rin1(-/-) mice show enhanced learning of conditioned fear). Here we report that Rin1(-/-) mice exhibit profound deficits in both latent inhibition and fear extinction, suggesting a critical role for Rin1 in gating the acquisition and persistence of cue-dependent fear conditioning. Surprisingly, we also find that depotentiation, a proposed cellular mechanism of extinction, is enhanced at lateral-basolateral (LA-BLA) amygdaloid synapses in Rin1(-/-) mice. Inhibition of a single Rin1 downstream effector pathway, the Abl tyrosine kinases, led to reduced amygdaloid depotentiation, arguing that proper coordination of Abl and Rab5 pathways is critical for Rin1-mediated effects on plasticity. While demonstrating a correlation between amygdala plasticity and fear learning, our findings argue against models proposing a direct causative relationship between amygdala depotentiation and fear extinction. Taken together, the behavior and physiology of Rin1(-/-) mice provide new insights into the regulation of memory acquisition and maintenance. In addition, Rin1(-/-) mice should prove useful as a model for pathologies marked by enhanced fear acquisition and retention, such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
Project description:Increasing evidence indicates the importance of neuron-glia communication for synaptic function, but the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. We reported that the EphA4 receptor tyrosine kinase is in dendritic spines of pyramidal neurons of the adult hippocampus and regulates spine morphology. We now show that the ephrin-A3 ligand, which is located in the perisynaptic processes of astrocytes, is essential for maintaining EphA4 activation and normal spine morphology in vivo. Ephrin-A3-knockout mice have spine irregularities similar to those observed in EphA4-knockout mice. Remarkably, loss of ephrin-A3 or EphA4 increases the expression of glial glutamate transporters. Consistent with this, glutamate transport is elevated in ephrin-A3-null hippocampal slices whereas Eph-dependent stimulation of ephrin-A3 signaling inhibits glutamate transport. Furthermore, some forms of hippocampus-dependent learning are impaired in the ephrin-A3-knockout mice. Our results suggest that the interaction between neuronal EphA4 and glial ephrin-A3 bidirectionally controls synapse morphology and glial glutamate transport, ultimately regulating hippocampal function.
Project description:Eph receptors have emerged as targets for therapy in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic disease, however, particularly in non-neoplastic diseases, redundancy of function limits the effectiveness of targeting individual Eph proteins. We have shown previously that a soluble fusion protein, where the EphA4 ectodomain was fused to IgG Fc (EphA4 Fc), was an effective therapy in acute injuries and demonstrated that EphA4 Fc was a broad spectrum Eph/ephrin antagonist. However, a very short in vivo half-life effectively limited its therapeutic development. We report a unique glycoengineering approach to enhance the half-life of EphA4 Fc. Progressive deletion of three demonstrated N-linked sites in EphA4 progressively increased in vivo half-life such that the triple mutant protein showed dramatically improved pharmacokinetic characteristics. Importantly, protein stability, affinity for ephrin ligands and antagonism of cell expressed EphA4 was fully preserved, enabling it to be developed as a broad spectrum Eph/ephrin antagonist for use in both acute and chronic diseases.
Project description:The erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular (Eph) family of receptor tyrosine kinases regulates a multitude of physiological and pathological processes. Despite the numerous possible research and therapeutic applications of agents capable of modulating Eph receptor function, no small molecule inhibitors targeting the extracellular domain of these receptors have been identified. We have performed a high throughput screen to search for small molecules that inhibit ligand binding to the extracellular domain of the EphA4 receptor. This yielded a 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid derivative able to inhibit the interaction of EphA4 with a peptide ligand as well as the natural ephrin ligands. Evaluation of a series of analogs identified an isomer with similar inhibitory properties and other less potent compounds. The two isomeric compounds act as competitive inhibitors, suggesting that they target the high affinity ligand-binding pocket of EphA4 and inhibit ephrin-A5 binding to EphA4 with K(i) values of 7 and 9 mum in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Interestingly, despite the ability of each ephrin ligand to promiscuously bind many Eph receptors, the two compounds selectively target EphA4 and the closely related EphA2 receptor. The compounds also inhibit ephrin-induced phosphorylation of EphA4 and EphA2 in cells, without affecting cell viability or the phosphorylation of other receptor tyrosine kinases. Furthermore, the compounds inhibit EphA4-mediated growth cone collapse in retinal explants and EphA2-dependent retraction of the cell periphery in prostate cancer cells. These data demonstrate that the Eph receptor-ephrin interface can be targeted by inhibitory small molecules and suggest that the two compounds identified will be useful to discriminate the activities of EphA4 and EphA2 from those of other co-expressed Eph receptors that are activated by the same ephrin ligands. Furthermore, the newly identified inhibitors represent possible leads for the development of therapies to treat pathologies in which EphA4 and EphA2 are involved, including nerve injuries and cancer.
Project description:Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands mediate cell signaling during normal and oncogenic development. Eph signaling is initiated in a multistep process leading to the assembly of higher-order Eph/ephrin clusters that set off bidirectional signaling in interacting cells. Eph and ephrins are divided in two subclasses based on their abilities to bind and activate each other and on sequence conservation. EphA4 is an exception to the general rule because it can be activated by both A- and B-class ephrin ligands. Here we present high-resolution structures of the complete EphA4 ectodomain and its complexes with ephrin-A5. The structures reveal how ligand binding promotes conformational changes in the EphA4 ligand-binding domain allowing the formation of signaling clusters at the sites of cell-cell contact. In addition, the structural data, combined with structure-based mutagenesis, reveal a previously undescribed receptor-receptor interaction between the EphA4 ligand-binding and membrane-proximal fibronectin domains, which is functionally important for efficient receptor activation.
Project description:Eph receptors play critical roles in the establishment and remodeling of neuronal connections, but the signaling pathways involved are not fully understood. We have identified a novel interaction between the C terminus of the EphA4 receptor and the PDZ domain of the GTPase-activating protein spine-associated RapGAP (SPAR). In neuronal cells, this binding mediates EphA4-dependent inactivation of the closely related GTPases Rap1 and Rap2, which have recently been implicated in the regulation of dendritic spine morphology and synaptic plasticity. We show that SPAR-mediated inactivation of Rap1, but not Rap2, is critical for ephrin-A-dependent growth cone collapse in hippocampal neurons and decreased integrin-mediated adhesion in neuronal cells. Distinctive effects of constitutively active Rap1 and Rap2 on the morphology of growth cones and dendritic spines support the idea that these two GTPases have different functions in neurons. Together, our data implicate SPAR as an important signaling intermediate that links the EphA4 receptor with Rap GTPase function in the regulation of neuronal morphology.