Homer 1a gates the induction mechanism for endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity.
ABSTRACT: At hippocampal excitatory synapses, endocannabinoids (eCBs) mediate two forms of retrograde synaptic inhibition that are induced by postsynaptic depolarization or activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). The homer family of molecular scaffolds provides spatial organization to regulate postsynaptic signaling cascades, including those activated by mGluRs. Expression of the homer 1a (H1a) immediate-early gene produces a short homer protein that lacks the domain required for homer oligomerization, enabling it to uncouple homer assemblies. Here, we report that H1a differentially modulates two forms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity, depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE) and metabotropic suppression of excitation (MSE). EPSCs were recorded from cultured hippocampal neurons and DSE evoked by a 15 s depolarization to 0 mV and MSE evoked by a type I mGluR agonist. Expression of H1a enhanced DSE and inhibited MSE at the same synapse. Many physiologically important stimuli initiate H1a expression including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Treating hippocampal cultures with BDNF increased transcription of H1a and uncoupled homer 1c-GFP (green fluorescent protein) clusters. BDNF treatment blocked MSE and enhanced DSE. Thus, physiological changes in H1a expression gate the induction pathway for eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity by uncoupling mGluR from eCB production.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) results from deficiency of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). FXS is the most common heritable form of mental retardation, and is associated with the occurrence of seizures. Factors responsible for initiating FXS-related hyperexcitability are poorly understood. Many protein-synthesis-dependent functions of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (Gp1 mGluRs) are exaggerated in FXS. Gp1 mGluR activation can mobilize endocannabinoids (eCBs) in the hippocampus and thereby increase excitability, but whether FMRP affects eCBs is unknown. We studied Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice lacking FMRP to test the hypothesis that eCB function is altered in FXS. Whole-cell evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) and field potentials were recorded in the CA1 region of acute hippocampal slices. Three eCB-mediated responses were examined: depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI), mGluR-initiated eCB-dependent inhibitory short-term depression (eCB-iSTD), and eCB-dependent inhibitory long-term depression (eCB-iLTD). Low concentrations of a Gp1 mGluR agonist produced larger eCB-mediated responses in Fmr1 KO mice than in wild-type (WT) mice, without affecting DSI. Western blots revealed that levels of mGluR1, mGluR5, or cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) were unchanged in Fmr1 KO animals, suggesting that the coupling between mGluR activation and eCB mobilization was enhanced by FMRP deletion. The increased susceptibility of Fmr1 KO slices to eCB-iLTD was physiologically relevant, since long-term potentiation of EPSP-spike (E-S) coupling induced by the mGluR agonist was markedly larger in Fmr1 KO mice than in WT animals. Alterations in eCB signaling could contribute to the cognitive dysfunction associated with FXS.
Project description:Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and Homer proteins play critical roles in neuronal functions including plasticity, nociception, epilepsy, and drug addiction. Furthermore, Homer proteins regulate mGluR1/5 function by acting as adapters and facilitating coupling to effectors such as the inositol triphosphate receptor. However, although Homer proteins and their interaction with mGluRs have been the subject of intense study, direct measurements of Homer-induced changes in postsynaptic mGluR-effector coupling have not been reported. This question was addressed here by examining glutamatergic excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in rat autaptic hippocampal cultures. In most neurons, the group I mGluR agonist (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine strongly inhibited the EPSC acutely. This modulation occurred postsynaptically, was mediated primarily by mGluR5, and was inositol triphosphate receptor-dependent. Expression of the dominant negative, immediate early form of Homer, Homer 1a, strongly reduced EPSC modulation, but the W24A mutant of Homer 1a, which cannot bind mGluRs, had no effect. (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine-mediated intracellular calcium responses in the processes of Homer 1a-expressing neurons were reduced compared with those in Homer 1a W24A-expressing cells. However, neither the distribution of mGluR5 nor the modulation of somatic calcium channels was altered by Homer 1a expression. These data demonstrate that Homer 1a can reduce mGluR5 coupling to postsynaptic effectors without relying on large changes in the subcellular distribution of the receptor. Thus, alteration of mGluR signaling by changes in Homer protein expression may represent a viable mechanism for fine-tuning synaptic strength in neurons.
Project description:Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), including mGluR1 and mGluR5, are G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are expressed at excitatory synapses in brain and spinal cord. GPCRs are often negatively regulated by specific G protein–coupled receptor kinases and subsequent binding of arrestin-like molecules. Here we demonstrate an alternative mechanism in which group I mGluRs are negatively regulated by proline-directed kinases that phosphorylate the binding site for the adaptor protein Homer, and thereby enhance mGluR–Homer binding to reduce signaling. This mechanism is dependent on a multidomain scaffolding protein, Preso1, that binds mGluR, Homer and proline-directed kinases and that is required for their phosphorylation of mGluR at the Homer binding site. Genetic ablation of Preso1 prevents dynamic phosphorylation of mGluR5, and Preso1(?/?) mice exhibit sustained, mGluR5-dependent inflammatory pain that is linked to enhanced mGluR signaling. Preso1 creates a microdomain for proline-directed kinases with broad substrate specificity to phosphorylate mGluR and to mediate negative regulation.
Project description:Endocannabinoids are important mediators of short- and long-term synaptic plasticity, but the mechanisms of endocannabinoid release have not been studied extensively outside the hippocampus and cerebellum. Here, we examined the mechanisms of endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression (eCB-LTD) in the dorsal striatum, a brain region critical for motor control and reinforcement learning. Unlike other cell types, strong depolarization of medium spiny neurons was not sufficient to yield detectable endocannabinoid release. However, when paired with postsynaptic depolarization sufficient to activate L-type calcium channels, activation of postsynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), either by high-frequency tetanic stimulation or an agonist, induced eCB-LTD. Pairing bursts of afferent stimulation with brief subthreshold membrane depolarizations that mimicked down-state to up-state transitions also induced eCB-LTD, which not only required activation of mGluRs and L-type calcium channels but also was bidirectionally modulated by dopamine D2 receptors. Consistent with network models, these results demonstrate that dopamine regulates the induction of a Hebbian form of long-term synaptic plasticity in the striatum. However, this gating of plasticity by dopamine is accomplished via an unexpected mechanism involving the regulation of mGluR-dependent endocannabinoid release.
Project description:Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) produces multiple effects in cortical neurons, resulting in the emergence of network activities including epileptiform discharges. The cellular mechanisms underlying such network responses are largely unknown. We examined the properties of group I mGluR-mediated cellular responses in CA3 neurons and attempted to determine their role in the generation of the network activities. Group I mGluR stimulation causes depolarization of hippocampal neurons. This depolarization is primarily mediated by two sets of conductance change: the opening of a voltage-dependent cationic conductance (mediating I(mGluR(V))) and the closing of a voltage-independent (background) K(+) conductance. I(mGluR(V)) was no longer elicited by group I mGluR agonists in the presence of U73122, a phospholipase C (PLC) blocker. Also, the current could not be activated in hippocampal CA3 neurons from PLCbeta1 knock-out mice. In contrast, suppression of PLC signaling did not affect the group I mGluR-mediated suppression of background K(+) conductance. Thus, the suppression of the background K(+) conductance occurred upstream to PLC activation, whereas the generation of I(mGluR(V)) occurred downstream to PLC activation. Group I mGluR agonists normally elicited rhythmic single cell and population burst responses in the CA3 neurons. In the absence of an I(mGluR(V)) response, CA3 neurons in slices prepared from PLCbeta1-/- mutant mice could no longer generate these responses. The results suggest that I(mGluR(V)) expression in CA3 hippocampal neuron is PLCbeta1-dependent and that I(mGluR(V)) plays a necessary role in the generation of rhythmic single cell bursts and synchronized epileptiform discharges in the CA3 region of the hippocampus.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) produces excessive glutamate, leading to excitotoxicity via the activation of glutamate receptors. Postsynaptic density scaffold proteins have crucial roles in mediating signal transduction from glutamate receptors to their downstream mediators. Therefore, studies on the mechanisms underlying regulation of excitotoxicity by scaffold proteins can uncover new treatments for TBI. Here, we demonstrated that the postsynaptic scaffold protein Homer 1a was neuroprotective against TBI in vitro and in vivo, and this neuroprotection was associated with its effects on group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Upon further study, we found that Homer 1a mainly affected neuronal injury induced by mGluR1 activation after TBI and also influenced mGluR5 function when its activity was restored. The ability of Homer 1a to disrupt mGluR-ERK signaling contributed to its ability to regulate the functions of mGluR1 and mGluR5 after traumatic injury. Intracellular Ca(2+) and PKC were two important factors involved in the mediation of mGluR-ERK signaling by Homer 1a. These results define Homer 1a as a novel endogenous neuroprotective agent against TBI.
Project description:The modifiability of neuronal response plasticity is called "metaplasticity." In suppressing synaptic inhibition and facilitating induction of long-term excitatory synaptic plasticity, endocannabinoids (eCBs) act as agents of metaplasticity. We now report the discovery of a calcium-dependent mechanism that regulates eCB mobilization by metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation. The switch-like mechanism primes cells to release eCBs and requires a transient rise in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) but not concurrent activation of mGluRs. Conversely, short-term, [Ca2+]i-dependent eCB release can be persistently enhanced by mGluR activation. Hence, eCBs are also objects of metaplasticity, subject to higher levels of physiological control.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>A large number of evidences suggest that group-I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1a, 1b, 1c, 5a, 5b) can modulate NMDA receptor activity. Interestingly, a physical link exists between these receptors through a Homer-Shank multi-protein scaffold that can be disrupted by the immediate early gene, Homer1a. Whether such a versatile link supports functional crosstalk between the receptors is unknown.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Here we used biochemical, electrophysiological and molecular biological approaches in cultured mouse cerebellar neurons to investigate this issue. We found that Homer1a or dominant negative Shank3 mutants that disrupt the physical link between the receptors allow inhibition of NMDA current by group-I mGluR agonist. This effect is antagonized by pertussis toxin, but not thapsigargin, suggesting the involvement of a G protein, but not intracellular calcium stores. Also, this effect is voltage-sensitive, being present at negative, but not positive membrane potentials. In the presence of DHPG, an apparent NMDA "tail current" was evoked by large pulse depolarization, only in neurons transfected with Homer1a. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed interaction between G-protein betagamma subunits and NMDA receptor in the presence of Homer1a and group-I mGluR agonist.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Altogether these results suggest a direct inhibition of NMDA receptor-channel by Gbetagamma subunits, following disruption of the Homer-Shank3 complex by the immediate early gene Homer1a. This study provides a new molecular mechanism by which group-I mGluRs could dynamically regulate NMDA receptor function.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons receive two excitatory glutamatergic synaptic inputs: their most distal dendritic regions in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare (SLM) are innervated by the perforant path (PP), originating from layer III of the entorhinal cortex, while their more proximal regions of the apical dendrites in the stratum radiatum (SR) are innervated by the Schaffer-collaterals (SC), originating from hippocampal CA3 neurons. Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are naturally occurring mediators capable of modulating both GABAergic and glutamatergic synaptic transmission and plasticity via the CB1 receptor. Previous work on eCB modulation of excitatory synapses in the CA1 region largely focuses on the SC pathway. However, little information is available on whether and how eCBs modulate glutamatergic synaptic transmission and plasticity at PP synapses.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>By employing somatic and dendritic patch-clamp recordings, Ca(2+) uncaging, and immunostaining, we demonstrate that there are significant differences in low-frequency stimulation (LFS)- or DHPG-, an agonist of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), induced long-term depression (LTD) of excitatory synaptic transmission between SC and PP synapses in the same pyramidal neurons. These differences are eliminated by pharmacological inhibition with selective CB1 receptor antagonists or genetic deletion of the CB1 receptor, indicating that these differences likely result from differential modulation via a CB1 receptor-dependent mechanism. We also revealed that depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE), a form of short-term synaptic plasticity, and photolysis of caged Ca(2+)-induced suppression of Excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were less at the PP than that at the SC. In addition, application of WIN55212 (WIN) induced a more pronounced inhibition of EPSCs at the SC when compared to that at the PP.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Our results suggest that CB1 dependent LTD and DSE are differentially expressed at the PP versus SC synapses in the same neurons, which may have an impact on synaptic scaling, integration and plasticity of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
Project description:Endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling mediates short-term and long-term synaptic depression (LTD) in many brain areas. In the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and striatum, D(2) dopamine receptors cooperate with group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) to induce eCB-mediated LTD of glutamatergic excitatory and GABAergic inhibitory (I-LTD) synaptic transmission. Because D(2) receptors and group I mGluR agonists are capable of inducing the release of eCBs, the predominant hypothesis is that the cooperation between these receptors to induce eCB-mediated synaptic depression results from the combined activation of type I cannabinoid (CB(1)) receptors by the eCBs. By determining the downstream effectors for D(2) receptor and group I mGluR activation in VTA dopamine neurons, we show that group I mGluR activation contributes to I-LTD induction by enhancing eCB release and CB(1) receptor activation. However, D(2) receptor activation does not enhance CB(1) receptor activation, but facilitates I-LTD induction via direct inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. We further demonstrate that cAMP/PKA signaling pathway is the downstream effector for CB(1) receptors and is required for eCB-mediated I-LTD induction. Our results suggest that D(2) receptors and CB(1) receptors target the same downstream effector cAMP/PKA signaling pathway to induce I-LTD and D(2) receptor activation facilitates eCB-mediated I-LTD in dopamine neurons not by enhancing CB(1) receptor activation, but by enhancing its downstream effects.