Novel approach to probe subunit-specific contributions to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor trafficking reveals a dominant role for NR2B in receptor recycling.
ABSTRACT: N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are expressed at excitatory synapses throughout the brain and are essential for neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. Functional NMDA receptors are tetramers, typically composed of NR1 and NR2 subunits (NR2A-D). NR2A and NR2B are expressed in the forebrain and are thought to assemble as diheteromers (NR1/NR2A, NR1/NR2B) and triheteromers (NR1/NR2A/NR2B). NR2A and NR2B contain cytosolic domains that regulate distinct postendocytic sorting events, with NR2A sorting predominantly into the degradation pathway, and NR2B preferentially trafficking through the recycling pathway. However, the interplay between these two subunits remains an open question. We have now developed a novel approach based on the dimeric feature of the alpha- and beta-chains of the human major histocompatibility complex class II molecule. We created chimeras of alpha- and beta-chains with the NR2A and NR2B C termini and evaluated endocytosis of dimers. Like chimeric proteins containing only a single NR2A or NR2B C-terminal domain, major histocompatibility complex class II-NR2A homodimers sort predominantly to late endosomes, whereas NR2B homodimers traffic to recycling endosomes. Interestingly, NR2A/NR2B heterodimers traffic preferentially through the recycling pathway, and NR2B is dominant in regulating dimer trafficking in both heterologous cells and neurons. In addition, the recycling of NR2B-containing NMDARs in wild-type neurons is not significantly different from NR2A(-/-) neurons. These data support a dominant role for NR2B in regulating the trafficking of triheteromeric NMDARs in vivo. Furthermore, our molecular approach allows for the direct and selective evaluation of dimeric assemblies and can be used to define dominant trafficking domains in other multisubunit protein complexes.
Project description:NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) are major contributors to long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity implicated in the process of learning and memory. These receptors consist of calcium-permeating NR1 and multiple regulatory NR2 subunits. A majority of studies show that both NR2A and NR2B-containing NMDARs can contribute to LTP, but their unique contributions to this form of synaptic plasticity remain poorly understood.In this study, we show that NR2A and NR2B-containing receptors promote LTP differently in the CA1 hippocampus of 1-month old mice, with the NR2A receptors functioning through Ras-GRF2 and its downstream effector, Erk Map kinase, and NR2B receptors functioning independently of these signaling molecules.This study demonstrates that NR2A-, but not NR2B, containing NMDA receptors induce LTP in pyramidal neurons of the CA1 hippocampus from 1 month old mice through Ras-GRF2 and Erk. This difference add new significance to the observation that the relative levels of these NMDAR subtypes is regulated in neurons, such that NR2A-containing receptors become more prominent late in postnatal development, after sensory experience and synaptic activity.
Project description:The NR2 subunit composition of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) varies during development, and this change is important in NMDAR-dependent signaling. In particular, synaptic NMDAR switch from containing mostly NR2B subunit to a mixture of NR2B and NR2A subunits. The pathways by which neurons differentially traffic NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDARs are poorly understood. Using single-particle and -molecule approaches and specific antibodies directed against NR2A and NR2B extracellular epitopes, we investigated the surface mobility of native NR2A and NR2B subunits at the surface of cultured neurons. The surface mobility of NMDARs depends on the NR2 subunit subtype, with NR2A-containing NMDARs being more stable than NR2B-containing ones, and NR2A subunit overexpression stabilizes surface NR2B-containing NMDARs. The developmental change in the synaptic surface content of NR2A and NR2B subunits was correlated with a developmental change in the time spent by the subunits within synapses. This suggests that the switch in synaptic NMDAR subtypes depends on the regulation of the receptor surface trafficking.
Project description:N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) play an important role in many aspects of nervous system function such as synaptic plasticity and neuronal development. NMDARs are heteromers consisting of an obligate NR1 and most commonly one or two kinds of NR2 subunits. While the receptors have been well characterized in some vertebrate and invertebrate systems, information about NMDARs in Xenopus laevis brain is incomplete. Here we provide biochemical evidence that the NR1, NR2A and NR2B subunits of NMDARs are expressed in the central nervous system of X. laevis tadpoles. The NR1-4a/b splice variants appear to be the predominant isoforms while the NR1-3a/b variants appear to be expressed at low levels. We cloned the X. laevis NR2A and NR2B subunits and provide a detailed annotation of their functional domains in comparison with NR2A and NR2B proteins from 10 and 13 other species, respectively. Both NR2A and NR2B proteins are remarkably well conserved between species, consistent with the importance of NMDARs in nervous system function.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play critical roles in complex brain functions as well as pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. There are many NMDA isoforms and subunit types that, together with subtype-specific assembly, give rise to significant functional heterogeneity of NMDA receptors. Conventional NMDA receptors are obligatory heterotetramers composed of two glycine-binding NR1 subunits and two glutamate-binding NR2 subunits. When individually expressed in heterogeneous cells, most of the NR1 splice variants and the NR2 subunits remain in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and do not form homomeric channels. The mechanisms underlying NMDA receptor trafficking and functional expression remain uncertain. Using truncated and chimeric NMDA receptor subunits expressed in heterogeneous cells and hippocampal neurons, together with immunostaining, biochemical, and functional analyses, we found that the NR2A amino-terminal domain (ATD) contains an ER retention signal, which can be specifically masked by the NR1a ATD. Interestingly, no such signal was found in the ATD of the NR2B subunit. We further identified the A2 segment of the NR2A ATD to be the primary determinant of ER retention. These findings indicate that NR2A-containing NMDA receptors may undergo a different ER quality control process from NR2B-containing NMDA receptors.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit-specific probes were used to characterize developmental changes in the distribution of excitatory amino acid receptors in the chicken's auditory brainstem nuclei. Although NR1 subunit expression does not change greatly during the development of the cochlear nuclei in the chicken (Tang and Carr  Hear. Res 191:79-89), there are significant developmental changes in NR2 subunit expression. We used in situ hybridization against NR1, NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, and NR2D to compare NR1 and NR2 expression during development. All five NMDA subunits were expressed in the auditory brainstem before embryonic day (E) 10, when electrical activity and synaptic responses appear in the nucleus magnocellularis (NM) and the nucleus laminaris (NL). At this time, the dominant form of the receptor appeared to contain NR1 and NR2B. NR2A appeared to replace NR2B by E14, a time that coincides with synaptic refinement and evoked auditory responses. NR2C did not change greatly during auditory development, whereas NR2D increased from E10 and remained at fairly high levels into adulthood. Thus changes in NMDA NR2 receptor subunits may contribute to the development of auditory brainstem responses in the chick.
Project description:Cocaine-induced plasticity of glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays an important role in brain adaptations that promote addictive behaviors. However, the mechanisms responsible for triggering these synaptic changes are unknown. Here, we examined the effects of acute cocaine application on glutamatergic synaptic transmission in rat midbrain slices. Cocaine caused a delayed increase in NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated synaptic currents in putative VTA dopamine (DA) cells. This effect was mimicked by a specific DA reuptake inhibitor and by a DA D1/D5 receptor agonist. The effect of cocaine was blocked by a DA D1/D5 receptor antagonist as well as by inhibitors of the cAMP/cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. Furthermore, biochemical analysis showed an increase in the immunoreactivity of the NMDAR subunits NR1 and NR2B and their redistribution to the synaptic membranes in VTA neurons. Accordingly, NMDAR-mediated EPSC decay time kinetics were significantly slower after cocaine, suggesting an increased number of NR2B-containing NMDARs. Finally, pharmacological analysis indicates that NR2B subunits might be incorporated in triheteromeric NR1/NR2A/NR2B complexes rather than in "pure" NR1/NR2B NMDA receptors. Together, our data suggest that acute cocaine increases NMDAR function in the VTA via activation of the cAMP/PKA pathway mediated by a DA D5-like receptor, leading to the insertion of NR2B-containing NMDARs in the membrane. These results provide a potential mechanism by which acute cocaine promotes synaptic plasticity of VTA neurons, which could ultimately lead to the development of addictive behaviors.
Project description:NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity and memory formation, whereas its dysfunction may underlie neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. The neuroactive steroid pregnenolone sulfate (PS) acts as a cognitive enhancer in impaired animals, augments LTP in hippocampal slices by enhancing NMDAR activity, and may participate in the reduction of schizophrenia's negative symptoms by systemic pregnenolone. We report that the effects of PS on NMDAR function are diverse, varying with subunit composition and NR1 splice variant. While PS potentiates NR1-1a/NR2B receptors through a critical steroid modulatory domain in NR2B that also modulates tonic proton inhibition, potentiation of the NMDA response is not dependent upon relief of such inhibition, a finding that distinguishes it from spermine. In contrast, the presence of an NR2A subunit confers enhanced PS-potentiation at reduced pH, suggesting that it may indeed act like spermine does at NR2B-containing receptors. Additional tuning of the NMDAR response by PS comes via the N-terminal exon-5 splicing insert of NR1-1b, which regulates the magnitude of proton-dependent PS potentiation. For NR2C- and NR2D-containing receptors, negative modulation at NR2C receptors is pH-independent (like NR2B) while negative modulation at NR2D receptors is pH-dependent (like NR2A). Taken together, PS displays a rich modulatory repertoire that takes advantage of the structural diversity of NMDARs in the CNS. The differential pH sensitivity of NMDAR isoforms to PS modulation may be especially important given the emerging role of proton sensors to both learning and memory, as well as brain injury.
Project description:Remifentanil-induced secondary hyperalgesia has been demonstrated in both animal experiments and clinical trials. Enhancement of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor trafficking as well as protein kinase C (PKC) and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) have been reported to be involved in the induction and maintenance of central sensitization. In the current study, it was demonstrated that dexmedetomidine could prevent remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia (RIH) via regulating spinal NMDAR-PKC-Ca2+/ CaMKII pathway in vivo and in vitro. We firstly investigated the effect of dexmedetomidine, a highly selective ?2-adrenergic receptor agonist, on mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia using a rat model of RIH. NMDA receptor subunits (NR1, NR2A and NR2B) expression and membrane trafficking as well as PKC and CaMKII expression in spinal cord L4-L5 segments were measured by Western blot analysis. The expression of NMDA receptor subunits (NR1, NR2A and NR2B) were also detected by immunohistochemistry. Further more, the effect of dexmedetomidine on NMDA receptor current amplitude and frequency in spinal cord slices were investigated by whole-cell patch-clamp recording. We found that remifentail infusion at 1.2 ?g.kg-1.min-1 for 90 min caused mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia, up-regulated NMDA receptor subunits NR1 and NR2B expression in both membrane fraction and total lysate as well as increased PKC and CaMKII expression in spinal cord dorsal horn. Subcutaneously injection of dexmedetomidine at the dose of 50 ?g/kg at 30 min before plantar incision significantly attenuated remifentanil-induced mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia from 2 h to 48 h after infusion, and this was associated with reversal of up-regulated NR1 and NR2B subunits in both membrane fraction and total lysate as well as increased PKC and CaMKII expression in spinal cord dorsal horn. Furthermore, remifentanil incubation increased amplitude and frequency of NMDA receptor-induced current in dorsal horn neurons, which was dose-dependently attenuated by dexmedetomidine. These results suggest that dexmedetomidine can significantly ameliorate RIH via modulating the expression, membrane trafficking and function of NMDA receptors as well as PKC and CaMKII level in spinal dorsal horn, which present useful insights into the mechanistic action of dexmedetomidine as a potential anti-hyperalgesic agents for treating RIH.
Project description:1. The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulphate (PS) potentiates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor mediated responses in various neuronal preparations. The NR1 subunit can combine with NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, or NR2D subunits to form functional receptors. Differential NR2 subunit expression in brain and during development raises the question of how the NR2 subunit influences NMDA receptor modulation by neuroactive steroids. 2. We examined the effects of PS on the four diheteromeric NMDA receptor subtypes generated by co-expressing the NR1(100) subunit with each of the four NR2 subunits in Xenopus oocytes. Whereas PS potentiated NMDA-, glutamate-, and glycine-induced currents of NR1/NR2A and NR1/NR2B receptors, it was inhibitory at NR1/NR2C and NR1/NR2D receptors. 3. In contrast, pregnanolone sulphate (3alpha5betaS), a negative modulator of the NMDA receptor that acts at a distinct site from PS, inhibited all four subtypes, but was approximately 4 fold more potent at NR1/NR2C and NR1/NR2D than at NR1/NR2A and NR1/NR2B receptors. 4. These findings demonstrate that residues on the NR2 subunit are key determinants of modulation by PS and 3alpha5betaS. The modulatory effects of PS, but not 3alpha5betaS, on dose-response curves for NMDA, glutamate, and glycine are consistent with a two-state model in which PS either stabilizes or destabilizes the active state of the receptor, depending upon which NR2 subunit is present. 5. The selectivity of sulphated steroid modulators for NMDA receptors of specific subunit composition is consistent with a neuromodulatory role for endogenous sulphated steroids. The results indicate that it may be possible to develop therapeutic agents that target steroid modulatory sites of specific NMDA receptor subtypes.
Project description:The development of glutamatergic synapses involves changes in the number and type of receptors present at the postsynaptic density. To elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying these changes, we combine in utero electroporation of constructs that alter the molecular composition of developing synapses with dual whole-cell electrophysiology to examine synaptic transmission during two distinct developmental stages. We find that SAP102 mediates synaptic trafficking of AMPA and NMDA receptors during synaptogenesis. Surprisingly, after synaptogenesis, PSD-95 assumes the functions of SAP102 and is necessary for two aspects of synapse maturation: the developmental increase in AMPA receptor transmission and replacement of NR2B-NMDARs with NR2A-NMDARs. In PSD-95/PSD-93 double-KO mice, the maturational replacement of NR2B- with NR2A-NMDARs fails to occur, and PSD-95 expression fully rescues this deficit. This study demonstrates that SAP102 and PSD-95 regulate the synaptic trafficking of distinct glutamate receptor subtypes at different developmental stages, thereby playing necessary roles in excitatory synapse development.