Intracellular chloride concentration influences the GABAA receptor subunit composition.
ABSTRACT: GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) exist as different subtype variants showing unique functional properties and defined spatio-temporal expression pattern. The molecular mechanisms underlying the developmental expression of different GABA(A)R are largely unknown. The intracellular concentration of chloride ([Cl(-)](i)), the main ion permeating through GABA(A)Rs, also undergoes considerable changes during maturation, being higher at early neuronal stages with respect to adult neurons. Here we investigate the possibility that [Cl(-)](i) could modulate the sequential expression of specific GABA(A)Rs subtypes in primary cerebellar neurons. We show that [Cl(-)](i) regulates the expression of α3-1 and δ-containing GABA(A) receptors, responsible for phasic and tonic inhibition, respectively. Our findings highlight the role of [Cl(-)](i) in tuning the strength of GABAergic responses by acting as an intracellular messenger.
Project description:Gephyrin and collybistin are key components of GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R) clustering. Nonetheless, resolving the molecular interactions between the plethora of GABA(A)R subunits and these clustering proteins is a significant challenge. We report a direct interaction of GABA(A)R α2 and α3 subunit intracellular M3-M4 domain (but not α1, α4, α5, α6, β1-3, or γ1-3) with gephyrin. Curiously, GABA(A)R α2, but not α3, binds to both gephyrin and collybistin using overlapping sites. The reciprocal binding sites on gephyrin for collybistin and GABA(A)R α2 also overlap at the start of the gephyrin E domain. This suggests that although GABA(A)R α3 interacts with gephyrin, GABA(A)R α2, collybistin, and gephyrin form a trimeric complex. In support of this proposal, tri-hybrid interactions between GABA(A)R α2 and collybistin or GABA(A)R α2 and gephyrin are strengthened in the presence of gephyrin or collybistin, respectively. Collybistin and gephyrin also compete for binding to GABA(A)R α2 in co-immunoprecipitation experiments and co-localize in transfected cells in both intracellular and submembrane aggregates. Interestingly, GABA(A)R α2 is capable of "activating " collybistin isoforms harboring the regulatory SH3 domain, enabling targeting of gephyrin to the submembrane aggregates. The GABA(A)R α2-collybistin interaction was disrupted by a pathogenic mutation in the collybistin SH3 domain (p.G55A) that causes X-linked intellectual disability and seizures by disrupting GABA(A)R and gephyrin clustering. Because immunohistochemistry in retina revealed a preferential co-localization of collybistin with α2 subunit containing GABA(A)Rs, but not GlyRs or other GABA(A)R subtypes, we propose that the collybistin-gephyrin complex has an intimate role in the clustering of GABA(A)Rs containing the α2 subunit.
Project description:The majority of fast inhibitory synaptic transmission in the mammalian nervous system is mediated by GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs). Here we report a novel interaction between the protein Maf1 and GABA(A)R beta-subunit intracellular domains. We find Maf1 to be highly expressed in brain and enriched in the hippocampus and cortex. In heterologous cells and neurons we show Maf1 co-localises with GABA(A)Rs in intracellular compartments and at the cell surface. In neurons, Maf1 is found localised in the cytoplasm in dendrites, partially overlapping with GABA(A)Rs and inhibitory synapses and in addition is enriched in the neuronal nucleus. We also report that Maf1 interacts with a novel coiled-coil domain containing protein that we have called Macoco (for Maf1 interacting coiled-coil protein). Like Maf1, Macoco can also be found localised to inhibitory synapses and directly interacts with GABA(A)Rs. Expressing Macoco in neurons increases surface GABA(A)R levels. Our results suggest that Maf1 and Macoco are novel GABA(A)R interacting proteins important for regulating GABA(A)R surface expression and GABA(A)R signalling in the brain.
Project description:Gephyrin is the major protein determinant for the clustering of inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors. Earlier analyses revealed that gephyrin tightly binds to residues 398-410 of the glycine receptor β subunit (GlyR β) and, as demonstrated only recently, also interacts with GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) containing the α1, α2, and α3 subunits. Here, we dissect the molecular basis underlying the interactions between gephyrin and GABA(A)Rs containing these α-subunits and compare them to the crystal structure of the gephyrin-GlyR β complex. Biophysical and biochemical assays revealed that, in contrast to its tight interaction with GlyR β, gephyrin only loosely interacts with GABA(A)R α2, whereas it has an intermediate affinity for the GABA(A)R α1 and α3 subunits. Despite the wide variation in affinities and the low overall sequence homology among the identified receptor subunits, competition assays confirmed the receptor-gephyrin interaction to be a mutually exclusive process. Selected gephyrin point mutants that critically weaken complex formation with GlyR β also abolished the GABA(A)R α1 and α3 interactions. Additionally, we identified a common binding motif with two conserved aromatic residues that are central for gephyrin binding. Consistent with the biochemical data, mutations of the corresponding residues within the cytoplasmic domain of α2 subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs attenuated clustering of these receptors at postsynaptic sites in hippocampal neurons. Taken together, our experiments provide key insights regarding similarities and differences in the complex formation between gephyrin and GABA(A)Rs compared with GlyRs and, hence, the accumulation of these receptors at postsynaptic sites.
Project description:Signaling at nerve cell synapses is a key determinant of proper brain function, and synaptic defects-or synaptopathies-are at the basis of many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Collybistin (CB), a brain-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor, is essential for the formation of γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) postsynapses in defined regions of the mammalian forebrain, including the hippocampus and basolateral amygdala. This process depends on a direct interaction of CB with the scaffolding protein gephyrin, which leads to the redistribution of gephyrin into submembranous clusters at nascent inhibitory synapses. Strikingly, synaptic clustering of gephyrin and GABA<sub>A</sub> type A receptors (GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs) in several brain regions, including the cerebral cortex and certain thalamic areas, is unperturbed in CB-deficient mice, indicating that the formation of a substantial subset of inhibitory postsynapses must be controlled by gephyrin-interacting proteins other than CB. Previous studies indicated that the α3 subunit of GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs (GABA<sub>A</sub>R-α3) binds directly and with high affinity to gephyrin. Here, we provide evidence (i) that a homooligomeric GABA<sub>A</sub>R-α3<sup>A343W</sup> mutant induces the formation of submembranous gephyrin clusters independently of CB in COS-7 cells, (ii) that gephyrin clustering is unaltered in the neuronal subpopulations endogenously expressing the GABA<sub>A</sub>R-α3 in CB-deficient brains, and (iii) that exogenous expression of GABA<sub>A</sub>R-α3 partially rescues impaired gephyrin clustering in CB-deficient hippocampal neurons. Our results identify an important role of GABA<sub>A</sub>R-α3 in promoting gephyrin-mediated and CB-independent formation of inhibitory postsynapses.
Project description:After axotomy, application of muscimol, a GABA(A) receptor agonist, induced an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](i)) in dorsal motor neurons of the vagus (DMV neurons). Elevation of [Ca(2+)](i) by muscimol was blocked by bicuculline, tetrodotoxin, and Ni(2+). In axotomized DMV neurons measured with gramicidin perforated-patch recordings, reversal potentials of the GABA(A) receptor-mediated response, presumably equal to the equilibrium potential of Cl(-), were more depolarized than that in intact neurons. Thus, GABA(A) receptor-mediated excitation is suggested to be attributable to Cl(-) efflux out of the cell because of increased intracellular Cl(-) concentration ([Cl(-)](i)) in axotomized neurons. Regulation of [Cl(-)](i) in both control and injured neurons was disturbed by furosemide and bumetanide and by manipulating cation balance across the membrane, suggesting that functional alteration of furosemide-sensitive cation-Cl(-) cotransporters is responsible for the increase of [Cl(-)](i) after axotomy. In situ hybridization revealed that neuron-specific K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (KCC2) mRNA was significantly reduced in the DMV after axotomy compared with that in control neurons. Similar expression of Na(+), K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter mRNA was observed between axotomized and control DMV neurons. Thus, axotomy led to disruption of [Cl(-)](i) regulation attributable to a decrease of KCC2 expression, elevation of intracellular Cl(-), and an excitatory response to GABA. A switch of GABA action from inhibitory to excitatory might be a mechanism contributing to excitotoxicity in injured neurons.
Project description:The cellular mechanisms underlying intrinsic epileptogenesis in human hypothalamic hamartoma (HH) are unknown. We previously reported that HH tissue is composed predominantly of GABAergic neurons, but how GABAergic-neuron-rich HH tissue is intrinsically epileptogenic is unclear. Here, we tested the hypotheses that some HH neurons exhibit immature features and that GABA excites these neurons via activation of GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs). Gramicidin-perforated and cell-attached patch-clamp recordings were performed using freshly-dissociated HH neurons to evaluate GABA(A)R-mediated currents, Cl(-) equilibrium potentials, and intracellular Cl(-) concentrations. Single-cell RT-PCR and immunocytochemical techniques were used to examine cation-Cl(-) co-transporter (NKCC1 and KCC2) gene and KCC2 protein expression and molecular markers of maturation. From a total of 93 acutely-dissociated HH neurons from 34 patients, 76% were small (soma: 6-9 microm) and 24% were large (soma: >20 microm) in size. Under gramicidin-perforated patch recording conditions, GABA(A)R activation depolarized/excited large but hyperpolarized/inhibited small HH neurons in most cases. Compared to small HH neurons, large HH neurons exhibited more positive Cl(-) equilibrium potentials, higher intracellular Cl(-) concentrations, lower KCC2 expression, and an immature phenotype, consistent with GABA(A)R-mediated excitation. Taken collectively, we provide novel evidence for and mechanistic insights into HH epileptogenicity: GABA(A)R-mediated excitation.
Project description:Nineteen GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R) subunits are known in mammals with only a restricted number of functionally identified native combinations. The physiological role of beta1-subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs is unknown. Here we report the discovery of a new structural class of GABA(A)R positive modulators with unique beta1-subunit selectivity: fragrant dioxane derivatives (FDD). At heterologously expressed alpha1betaxgamma2L (x-for 1,2,3) GABA(A)R FDD were 6 times more potent at beta1- versus beta2- and beta3-containing receptors. Serine at position 265 was essential for the high sensitivity of the beta1-subunit to FDD and the beta1N286W mutation nearly abolished modulation; vice versa the mutation beta3N265S shifted FDD sensitivity toward the beta1-type. In posterior hypothalamic neurons controlling wakefulness GABA-mediated whole-cell responses and GABAergic synaptic currents were highly sensitive to FDD, in contrast to beta1-negative cerebellar Purkinje neurons. Immunostaining for the beta1-subunit and the potency of FDD to modulate GABA responses in cultured hypothalamic neurons was drastically diminished by beta1-siRNA treatment. In conclusion, with the help of FDDs we reveal a functional expression of beta1-containing GABA(A)Rs in the hypothalamus, offering a new tool for studies on the functional diversity of native GABA(A)Rs.
Project description:High-affinity extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are a prominent feature of cerebellar granule neurons and thalamic relay neurons. In both cell types, the presence of synaptic glomeruli would be expected to promote activation of these GABA(A)Rs, contributing to phasic spillover-mediated currents and tonic inhibition. However, the precise role of different receptor subtypes in these two phenomena is unclear. To address this question, we made recordings from neurons in acute brain slices from mice, and from tsA201 cells expressing recombinant GABA(A)Rs. We found that ? subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs of both cerebellar granule neurons and thalamic relay neurons of the lateral geniculate nucleus contributed to tonic conductance caused by ambient GABA but not to spillover-mediated currents. In the presence of a low "ambient" GABA concentration, recombinant "extrasynaptic" ? subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs exhibited profound desensitization, rendering them insensitive to brief synaptic- or spillover-like GABA transients. Together, our results demonstrate that phasic spillover and tonic inhibition reflect the activation of distinct receptor populations.
Project description:Presynaptic GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) occur at hippocampal mossy fiber synapses. Whether and how they modulate orthodromic signaling to postsynaptic targets is poorly understood. We found that an endogenous neurosteroid that is selective for high-affinity delta subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs depolarized rat mossy fiber boutons, enhanced action potential-dependent Ca(2+) transients and facilitated glutamatergic transmission to pyramidal neurons. Conversely, blocking GABA(A)Rs hyperpolarized mossy fiber boutons, increased their input resistance, decreased spike width and attenuated action potential-dependent presynaptic Ca(2+) transients, indicating that a subset of presynaptic GABA receptors are tonically active. Blocking GABA(A)Rs also interfered with the induction of long-term potentiation at mossy fiber-CA3 synapses. Presynaptic GABA(A)Rs therefore facilitate information flow to the hippocampus both directly and by enhancing LTP.
Project description:We have found that the γ2 subunit of the GABA(A) receptor (γ2-GABA(A)R) specifically interacts with protocadherin-γC5 (Pcdh-γC5) in the rat brain. The interaction occurs between the large intracellular loop of the γ2-GABA(A)R and the cytoplasmic domain of Pcdh-γC5. In brain extracts, Pcdh-γC5 coimmunoprecipitates with GABA(A)Rs. In cotransfected HEK293 cells, Pcdh-γC5 promotes the transfer of γ2-GABA(A)R to the cell surface. We have previously shown that, in cultured hippocampal neurons, endogenous Pcdh-γC5 forms clusters, some of which associate with GABAergic synapses. Overexpression of Pcdh-γC5 in hippocampal neurons increases the density of γ2-GABA(A)R clusters but has no significant effect on the number of GABAergic contacts that these neurons receive, indicating that Pcdh-γC5 is not synaptogenic. Deletion of the cytoplasmic domain of Pcdh-γC5 enhanced its surface expression but decreased the association with both γ2-GABA(A)R clusters and presynaptic GABAergic contacts. Cultured hippocampal neurons from the Pcdh-γ triple C-type isoform knock-out (TCKO) mouse (Pcdhg(tcko/tcko)) showed plenty of GABAergic synaptic contacts, although their density was reduced compared with sister cultures from wild-type and heterozygous mice. Knocking down Pcdh-γC5 expression with shRNA decreased γ2-GABA(A)R cluster density and GABAergic innervation. The results indicate that, although Pcdh-γC5 is not essential for GABAergic synapse formation or GABA(A)R clustering, (1) Pcdh-γC5 regulates the surface expression of GABA(A)Rs via cis-cytoplasmic interaction with γ2-GABA(A)R, and (2) Pcdh-γC5 plays a role in the stabilization and maintenance of some GABAergic synapses.