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Altering the relative abundance of GABA A receptor subunits changes GABA- and ethanol-responses in Xenopus oocytes.

ABSTRACT: Variations in GABRA2 and GABRG3, genes encoding the alpha2 and gamma3 subunits of the pentameric GABA(A) receptor, are associated with the risk of developing alcoholism in adults, conduct disorder at younger ages, and with differences in electroencephalographic power in the beta frequency range. The SNPs associated with alcoholism did not alter the coding of these genes, and extensive DNA sequencing of GABRA2 did not find coding changes in the high-risk haplotypes. Therefore, we hypothesize that the associations arise from differences in gene expression.Here we report studies in Xenopus oocytes to examine the functional effects of altering the relative abundance of these 2 receptor subunits on GABA current and response to ethanol, as a model of potential effects of regulatory differences.When human alpha2beta2gamma3 subunits are co-expressed, increasing the amount of the alpha2 subunit mRNA increased GABA current; in contrast, increasing the amount of the gamma3 subunit decreased GABA currents. Acute ethanol treatment of oocytes injected with a 1:1:1 or 2:2:1 ratio of alpha2:beta2:gamma3 subunit mRNAs resulted in significant potentiation of GABA currents, whereas ethanol inhibited GABA currents in cells injected with a 6:2:1 ratio. Overnight treatment with ethanol significantly reduced GABA currents in a manner dependent on the ratio of subunits.These studies demonstrate that changes in relative expression of GABA(A) receptor subunits alter the response of the resulting channels to GABA and to ethanol.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC4136686 | BioStudies | 2009-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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