Glucocorticoid receptor interaction with TrkB promotes BDNF-triggered PLC-gamma signaling for glutamate release via a glutamate transporter.
ABSTRACT: An increase in glucocorticoid levels and down-regulation of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) are supposed to be involved in the pathophysiology of depressive disorders. However, possible crosstalk between glucocorticoid- and BDNF-mediated neuronal functions in the CNS has not been elucidated. Here, we examined whether chronic glucocorticoid exposure influences BDNF-triggered intracellular signaling for glutamate release via a glutamate transporter. We found that chronic exposure to dexamethasone (DEX, a synthetic glucocorticoid) suppressed BDNF-induced glutamate release via weakening the activation of the PLC-gamma (phospholipase C-gamma)/Ca(2+) system in cultured cortical neurons. We demonstrated that the GR (glucocorticoid receptor) interacts with receptor tyrosine kinase for BDNF (TrkB). Following DEX treatment, TrkB-GR interaction was reduced due to the decline in GR expression. Corticosterone, a natural glucocorticoid, also reduced TrkB-GR interaction, BDNF-stimulated PLC-gamma, and BDNF-triggered glutamate release. Interestingly, BDNF-dependent binding of PLC-gamma to TrkB was diminished by DEX. SiRNA transfection to induce a decrease in endogenous GR mimicked the inhibitory action of DEX. Conversely, DEX-inhibited BDNF-activated PLC-gamma signaling for glutamate release was recovered by GR overexpression. We propose that TrkB-GR interaction plays a critical role in the BDNF-stimulated PLC-gamma pathway, which is required for glutamate release, and the decrease in TrkB-GR interaction caused by chronic exposure to glucocorticoids results in the suppression of BDNF-mediated neurotransmitter release via a glutamate transporter.
Project description:Abnormal glucocorticoid and neurotrophin signaling has been implicated in numerous psychiatric disorders. However, the impact of neurotrophic signaling on glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-dependent gene expression is not understood. We therefore examined the impact of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling on GR transcriptional regulatory function by gene expression profiling in primary rat cortical neurons stimulated with the selective GR agonist dexamethasone (Dex) and BDNF, alone or in combination. Simultaneous treatment with BDNF and Dex elicited a unique set of GR-responsive genes associated with neuronal growth and differentiation and also enhanced the induction of a large number of Dex-sensitive genes. BDNF via its receptor TrkB enhanced the transcriptional activity of a synthetic GR reporter, suggesting a direct effect of BDNF signaling on GR function. Indeed, BDNF treatment induces the phosphorylation of GR at serine 155 (S155) and serine 287 (S287). Expression of a nonphosphorylatable mutant (GR S155A/S287A) impaired the induction of a subset of BDNF- and Dex-regulated genes. Mechanistically, BDNF-induced GR phosphorylation increased GR occupancy and cofactor recruitment at the promoter of a BDNF-enhanced gene. GR phosphorylation in vivo is sensitive to changes in the levels of BDNF and TrkB as well as stress. Therefore, BDNF signaling specifies and amplifies the GR transcriptome through a coordinated GR phosphorylation-dependent detection mechanism.
Project description:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in many functions such as neuronal growth, survival, synaptic plasticity and memorization. Altered expression levels are associated with many pathological situations such as depression, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases. Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is also crucial for neuron functions, via binding of glucocorticoid hormones (GCs). GR actions largely overlap those of BDNF. It has been proposed that GR could be a regulator of BDNF expression, however the molecular mechanisms involved have not been clearly defined yet. Herein, we analyzed the effect of a GC agonist dexamethasone (DEX) on BDNF expression in mouse neuronal primary cultures and in the newly characterized, mouse hippocampal BZ cell line established by targeted oncogenesis. Mouse Bdnf gene exhibits a complex genomic structure with 8 untranslated exons (I to VIII) splicing onto one common and unique coding exon IX. We found that DEX significantly downregulated total BDNF mRNA expression by around 30%. Expression of the highly expressed exon IV and VI containing transcripts was also reduced by DEX. The GR antagonist RU486 abolished this effect, which is consistent with specific GR-mediated action. Transient transfection assays allowed us to define a short 275 bp region within exon IV promoter responsible for GR-mediated Bdnf repression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated GR recruitment onto this fragment, through unidentified transcription factor tethering. Altogether, GR downregulates Bdnf expression through direct binding to Bdnf regulatory sequences. These findings bring new insights into the crosstalk between GR and BDNF signaling pathways both playing a major role in physiology and pathology of the central nervous system.
Project description:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is essential for neuronal survival, differentiation, and functions in the central nervous system (CNS). Because BDNF protein is sorted into secretory vesicles at the trans-Golgi network in the cell body after translation, transport of BDNF-containing vesicles to the secretion sites is an important process for its function. Here we examined the effect of dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid, on BDNF-containing vesicle transport and found that DEX decreased the proportion of stationary vesicles and increased velocity of the microtubule-based vesicle transport in dendrites of cortical neurons. Furthermore, DEX increased huntingtin (Htt) protein levels via glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activation, and reduction in the amount of Htt by a specific shRNA reversed the action of DEX on BDNF vesicle transport. Given that Htt protein is a positive regulator for the microtubule-dependent vesicular transport in neurons, our data suggest that glucocorticoid stimulates BDNF vesicle transport through upregulation of Htt protein levels.
Project description:Activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) by glucocorticoid hormones (GC) enhances contextual fear memories through the activation of the Erk1/2(MAPK) signaling pathway. However, the molecular mechanism mediating this effect of GC remains unknown. Here we used complementary molecular and behavioral approaches in mice and rats and in genetically modified mice in which the GR was conditionally deleted (GR(NesCre)). We identified the tPA-BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway as the upstream molecular effectors of GR-mediated phosphorylation of Erk1/2(MAPK) responsible for the enhancement of contextual fear memory. These findings complete our knowledge of the molecular cascade through which GC enhance contextual fear memory and highlight the role of tPA-BDNF-TrkB-Erk1/2(MAPK) signaling pathways as one of the core effectors of stress-related effects of GC.
Project description:Neurotrophins and glucocorticoids are robust synaptic modifiers, and deregulation of their activities is a risk factor for developing stress-related disorders. Low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) increase the desensitization of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) and vulnerability to stress, whereas higher levels of BDNF facilitate GR-mediated signaling and the response to antidepressants. However, the molecular mechanism underlying neurotrophic-priming of GR function is poorly understood. Here we provide evidence that activation of a TrkB-MAPK pathway, when paired with the deactivation of a GR-protein phosphatase 5 pathway, resulted in sustained GR phosphorylation at BDNF-sensitive sites that is essential for the transcription of neuronal plasticity genes. Genetic strategies that disrupted GR phosphorylation or TrkB signaling in vivo impaired the neuroplasticity to chronic stress and the effects of the antidepressant fluoxetine. Our findings reveal that the coordinated actions of BDNF and glucocorticoids promote neuronal plasticity and that disruption in either pathway could set the stage for the development of stress-induced psychiatric diseases.
Project description:BDNF is a pro-survival protein involved in neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. BDNF strengthens excitatory synapses and contributes to LTP, presynaptically, through enhancement of glutamate release, and postsynaptically, via phosphorylation of neurotransmitter receptors, modulation of receptor traffic and activation of the translation machinery. We examined whether BDNF upregulated vesicular glutamate receptor (VGLUT) 1 and 2 expression, which would partly account for the increased glutamate release in LTP. Cultured rat hippocampal neurons were incubated with 100 ng/ml BDNF, for different periods of time, and VGLUT gene and protein expression were assessed by real-time PCR and immunoblotting, respectively. At DIV7, exogenous application of BDNF rapidly increased VGLUT2 mRNA and protein levels, in a dose-dependent manner. VGLUT1 expression also increased but only transiently. However, at DIV14, BDNF stably increased VGLUT1 expression, whilst VGLUT2 levels remained low. Transcription inhibition with actinomycin-D or ?-amanitine, and translation inhibition with emetine or anisomycin, fully blocked BDNF-induced VGLUT upregulation. Fluorescence microscopy imaging showed that BDNF stimulation upregulates the number, integrated density and intensity of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 puncta in neurites of cultured hippocampal neurons (DIV7), indicating that the neurotrophin also affects the subcellular distribution of the transporter in developing neurons. Increased VGLUT1 somatic signals were also found 3 h after stimulation with BDNF, further suggesting an increased de novo transcription and translation. BDNF regulation of VGLUT expression was specifically mediated by BDNF, as no effect was found upon application of IGF-1 or bFGF, which activate other receptor tyrosine kinases. Moreover, inhibition of TrkB receptors with K252a and PLC? signaling with U-73122 precluded BDNF-induced VGLUT upregulation. Hippocampal neurons express both isoforms during embryonic and neonatal development in contrast to adult tissue expressing only VGLUT1. These results suggest that BDNF regulates VGLUT expression during development and its effect on VGLUT1 may contribute to enhance glutamate release in LTP.
Project description:Up to 50% of traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors demonstrate persisting and late-onset anxiety disorders indicative of limbic system dysregulation, yet the pathophysiology underlying the symptoms is unclear. We hypothesize that the development of TBI-induced anxiety-like behavior in an experimental model of TBI is mediated by changes in glutamate neurotransmission within the amygdala. Adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent midline fluid percussion injury or sham surgery. Anxiety-like behavior was assessed at 7 and 28 days post-injury (DPI) followed by assessment of real-time glutamate neurotransmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) using glutamate-selective microelectrode arrays. The expression of anxiety-like behavior at 28 DPI coincided with decreased evoked glutamate release and slower glutamate clearance in the CeA, not BLA. Numerous factors contribute to the changes in glutamate neurotransmission over time. In two additional animal cohorts, protein levels of glutamatergic transporters (Glt-1 and GLAST) and presynaptic modulators of glutamate release (mGluR2, TrkB, BDNF, and glucocorticoid receptors) were quantified using automated capillary western techniques at 28 DPI. Astrocytosis and microglial activation have been shown to drive maladaptive glutamate signaling and were histologically assessed over 28 DPI. Alterations in glutamate neurotransmission could not be explained by changes in protein levels for glutamate transporters, mGluR2 receptors, astrocytosis, and microglial activation. Presynaptic modulators, BDNF and TrkB, were significantly decreased at 28 DPI in the amygdala. Dysfunction in presynaptic regulation of glutamate neurotransmission may contribute to anxiety-related behavior and serve as a therapeutic target to improve circuit function.
Project description:Emotionally important events are well remembered. Although memories of emotional experiences are known to be mediated and modulated by stress hormones such as glucocorticoids, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that the hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors that are critically engaged during the formation of long-term inhibitory avoidance memory in rats were coupled to the activation of CaMKII?, TrkB, ERK, Akt, PLC? and CREB, as well as a to a substantial induction of Arc and synaptic GluA1. Most of these changes, which are initiated by a nongenomic effect of glucocorticoid receptors, were also downstream of the activation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Hippocampal administration of BDNF, but not of other neurotrophins, selectively rescued both the amnesia and the molecular impairments produced by glucocorticoid receptor inhibition. Thus, glucocorticoid receptors mediate long-term memory formation by recruiting the CaMKII?-BDNF-CREB-dependent neural plasticity pathways.
Project description:Stress can either promote or impair learning and memory. Such opposing effects depend on whether synapses persist or decay after learning. Maintenance of new synapses formed at the time of learning upon neuronal network activation depends on the stress hormone-activated glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and neurotrophic factor release. Whether and how concurrent GR and neurotrophin signaling integrate to modulate synaptic plasticity and learning is not fully understood. Here, we show that deletion of the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-dependent GR-phosphorylation (PO4) sites impairs long-term memory retention and maintenance of newly formed postsynaptic dendritic spines in the mouse cortex after motor skills training. Chronic stress and the BDNF polymorphism Val66Met disrupt the BDNF-dependent GR-PO4 pathway necessary for preserving training-induced spines and previously acquired memories. Conversely, enrichment living promotes spine formation but fails to salvage training-related spines in mice lacking BDNF-dependent GR-PO4 sites, suggesting it is essential for spine consolidation and memory retention. Mechanistically, spine maturation and persistence in the motor cortex depend on synaptic mobilization of the glutamate receptor subunit A1 (GluA1) mediated by GR-PO4 Together, these findings indicate that regulation of GR-PO4 via activity-dependent BDNF signaling is important for the formation and maintenance of learning-dependent synapses. They also define a signaling mechanism underlying these effects.
Project description:Stress is a major risk factor for depression and anxiety. One of the effects of stress is the (over-) activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the release of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids (GCs). Chronically increased stress hormone levels have been shown to have detrimental effects on neuronal networks by inhibiting neurotrophic processes particularly in the hippocampus proper. Centrally, GCs modulate metabolic as well as behavioural processes by activating two classes of corticoid receptors, high-affinity mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) and low-affinity glucocorticoid receptors (GR). Upon activation, GR can modulate gene transcription either as a monomeric protein, or as a dimer interacting directly with DNA. GR can also modulate cellular processes via non-genomic mechanisms, for example via a GPCR-protein interaction. We evaluated the behavioral phenotype in mice with a targeted mutation in the GR in a FVB/NJ background. In GRdim/dim mice, GR proteins form poor homodimers, while the GR monomer remains intact. We evaluated the effect of poor GR dimerization on hippocampus-dependent cognition as well as on exploration and emotional behavior under baseline and chronically increased stress hormone levels. We found that GRdim/dim mice did not behave differently from GRwt/wt littermates under baseline conditions. However, after chronic elevation of stress hormone levels, GRdim/dim mice displayed a significant impairment in hippocampus-dependent memory compared to GRwt/wt mice, which correlated with differential expression of hippocampal Bdnf/TrkB and Fkbp5.