Age-Dependent Degeneration of Mature Dentate Gyrus Granule Cells Following NMDA Receptor Ablation.
ABSTRACT: N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in all hippocampal areas play an essential role in distinct processes of memory formation as well as in sustaining cell survival of postnatally generated neurons in the dentate gyrus (DG). In contrast to the beneficial effects, over-activation of NMDARs has been implicated in many acute and chronic neurological diseases, reason why therapeutic approaches and clinical trials involving receptor blockade have been envisaged for decades. Here we employed genetically engineered mice to study the long-term effect of NMDAR ablation on selective hippocampal neuronal populations. Ablation of either GluN1 or GluN2B causes degeneration of the DG. The neuronal demise affects mature neurons specifically in the dorsal DG and is NMDAR subunit-dependent. Most importantly, the degenerative process exacerbates with increasing age of the animals. These results lead us to conclude that mature granule cells in the dorsal DG undergo neurodegeneration following NMDAR ablation in aged mouse. Thus, caution needs to be exerted when considering long-term administration of NMDAR antagonists for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:NMDA receptors (NMDARs) require the coagonists D-serine or glycine for their activation, but whether the identity of the coagonist could be synapse specific and developmentally regulated remains elusive. We therefore investigated the contribution of D-serine and glycine by recording NMDAR-mediated responses at hippocampal Schaffer collaterals (SC)-CA1 and medial perforant path-dentate gyrus (mPP-DG) synapses in juvenile and adult rats. Selective depletion of endogenous coagonists with enzymatic scavengers as well as pharmacological inhibition of endogenous D-amino acid oxidase activity revealed that D-serine is the preferred coagonist at SC-CA1 mature synapses, whereas, unexpectedly, glycine is mainly involved at mPP-DG synapses. Nevertheless, both coagonist functions are driven by the levels of synaptic activity as inferred by recording long-term potentiation generated at both connections. This regional compartmentalization in the coagonist identity is associated to different GluN1/GluN2A to GluN1/GluN2B subunit composition of synaptic NMDARs. During postnatal development, the replacement of GluN2B- by GluN2A-containing NMDARs at SC-CA1 synapses parallels a change in the identity of the coagonist from glycine to D-serine. In contrast, NMDARs subunit composition at mPP-DG synapses is not altered and glycine remains the main coagonist throughout postnatal development. Altogether, our observations disclose an unprecedented relationship in the identity of the coagonist not only with the GluN2 subunit composition at synaptic NMDARs but also with astrocyte activity in the developing and mature hippocampus that reconciles the complementary functions of D-serine And Glycine In Modulating Nmdars During The Maturation Of Tripartite Glutamatergic Synapses.
Project description:Although numerous pathogenic mutations have been identified in various subunits of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), ionotropic glutamate receptors that are central to glutamatergic neurotransmission, the functional effects of these mutations are often unknown. Here, we combined in silico modelling with microscopy, biochemistry, and electrophysiology in cultured HEK293 cells and hippocampal neurons to examine how the pathogenic missense mutation S688Y in the GluN1 NMDAR subunit affects receptor function and trafficking. We found that the S688Y mutation significantly increases the EC50 of both glycine and D-serine in GluN1/GluN2A and GluN1/GluN2B receptors, and significantly slows desensitisation of GluN1/GluN3A receptors. Moreover, the S688Y mutation reduces the surface expression of GluN3A-containing NMDARs in cultured hippocampal neurons, but does not affect the trafficking of GluN2-containing receptors. Finally, we found that the S688Y mutation reduces Ca2+ influx through NMDARs and reduces NMDA-induced excitotoxicity in cultured hippocampal neurons. These findings provide key insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie the regulation of NMDAR subtypes containing pathogenic mutations.
Project description:GluN2B (GluRepsilon2/NR2B) subunit is involved in synapse development, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive function. However, its roles in synaptic expression and function of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) in the brain remain mostly unknown because of the neonatal lethality of global knock-out mice. To address this, we generated conditional knock-out mice, in which GluN2B was ablated exclusively in hippocampal CA3 pyramidal cells. By immunohistochemistry, GluN2B disappeared and GluN1 (GluRzeta1/NR1) was moderately reduced, whereas GluN2A (GluRepsilon1/NR2A) and postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95) were unaltered in the mutant CA3. This was consistent with protein contents in the CA3 crude fraction: 9.6% of control level for GluN2B, 47.7% for GluN1, 90.6% for GluN2A, and 98.0% for PSD-95. Despite the remaining NMDARs, NMDAR-mediated currents and long-term potentiation were virtually lost at various CA3 synapses. Then, we compared synaptic NMDARs by postembedding immunogold electron microscopy and immunoblot using the PSD fraction. In the mutant CA3, GluN1 was severely reduced in both immunogold (20.6-23.6%) and immunoblot (24.6%), whereas GluN2A and PSD-95 were unchanged in immunogold but markedly reduced in the PSD fraction (51.4 and 36.5%, respectively), indicating increased detergent solubility of PSD molecules. No such increased solubility was observed for GluN2B in the CA3 of GluN2A-knock-out mice. Furthermore, significant decreases were found in the ratio of filamentous to globular actin (49.5%) and in the density of dendritic spines (76.2%). These findings suggest that GluN2B is critically involved in NMDAR channel function, organization of postsynaptic macromolecular complexes, formation or maintenance of dendritic spines, and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
Project description:Amyloid beta (A?)-mediated synapse dysfunction and spine loss are considered to be early events in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have previously been suggested to play a role for Amyloid beta (A?) toxicity. Pharmacological block of NMDAR subunits in cultured neurons and mice suggested that NMDARs containing the GluN2B subunit are necessary for A?-mediated changes in synapse number and function in hippocampal neurons. Interestingly, NMDARs undergo a developmental switch from GluN2B- to GluN2A-containing receptors. This indicates different functional roles of NMDARs in young mice compared to older animals. In addition, the lack of pharmacological tools to efficiently dissect the role of NMDARs containing the different subunits complicates the interpretation of their specific role. In order to address this problem and to investigate the specific role for A? toxicity of the distinct NMDAR subunits in dentate gyrus granule cells of adult mice, we used conditional knockout mouse lines for the subunits GluN1, GluN2A and GluN2B. A?-mediated changes in synaptic function and neuronal anatomy were investigated in several-months old mice with virus-mediated overproduction of A? and in 1-year old 5xFAD mice. We found that all three NMDAR subunits contribute to the A?-mediated decrease in the number of functional synapses. However, NMDARs are not required for the spine number reduction in dentate gyrus granule cells after chronic A?-overproduction in 5xFAD mice. Furthermore, the amplitude of synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDAR-mediated currents was reduced in dentate gyrus granule of 5xFAD mice without changes in current kinetics, suggesting that a redistribution or change in subunit composition of NMDARs does not play a role in mediating Amyloid beta (A?) toxicity. Our study indicates that NMDARs are involved in AD pathogenesis by compromising synapse function but not by affecting neuron morphology.
Project description:NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are key mediators of certain forms of synaptic plasticity and learning. NMDAR complexes are heteromers composed of an obligatory GluN1 subunit and one or more GluN2 (GluN2A-GluN2D) subunits. Different subunits confer distinct physiological and molecular properties to NMDARs, but their contribution to synaptic plasticity and learning in the adult brain remains uncertain. Here, we generated mice lacking GluN2B in pyramidal neurons of cortex and CA1 subregion of hippocampus. We found that hippocampal principal neurons of adult GluN2B mutants had faster decaying NMDAR-mediated EPSCs than nonmutant controls and were insensitive to GluN2B but not NMDAR antagonism. A subsaturating form of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) was impaired in the mutants, whereas a saturating form of LTP was intact. An NMDAR-dependent form of long-term depression (LTD) produced by low-frequency stimulation combined with glutamate transporter inhibition was abolished in the mutants. Additionally, mutants exhibited decreased dendritic spine density in CA1 hippocampal neurons compared with controls. On multiple assays for corticohippocampal-mediated learning and memory (hidden platform Morris water maze, T-maze spontaneous alternation, and pavlovian trace fear conditioning), mutants were impaired. These data further demonstrate the importance of GluN2B for synaptic plasticity in the adult hippocampus and suggest a particularly critical role in LTD, at least the form studied here. The finding that loss of GluN2B was sufficient to cause learning deficits illustrates the contribution of GluN2B-mediated forms of plasticity to memory formation, with implications for elucidating NMDAR-related dysfunction in disease-related cognitive impairment.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Postsynaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) phasically activated by presynaptically released glutamate are critical for synaptic transmission and plasticity. However, under pathological conditions, excessive activation of NMDARs by tonically increased ambient glutamate contributes to excitotoxicity associated with various acute and chronic neurological disorders. Here, using heterologously expressed GluN1/GluN2A and GluN1/GluN2B receptors and rat autaptic hippocampal microisland cultures, we show that pregnanolone sulfate inhibits NMDAR currents induced by a prolonged glutamate application with a higher potency than the NMDAR component of EPSCs. For synthetic pregnanolone derivatives substituted with a carboxylic acid moiety at the end of an aliphatic chain of varying length and attached to the steroid skeleton at C3, the difference in potency between tonic and phasic inhibition increased with the length of the residue. The steroid with the longest substituent, pregnanolone hemipimelate, had no effect on phasically activated receptors while inhibiting tonically activated receptors. In behavioral tests, pregnanolone hemipimelate showed neuroprotective activity without psychomimetic symptoms. These results provide insight into the influence of steroids on neuronal function and stress their potential use in the development of novel therapeutics with neuroprotective action. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Synaptic activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) plays a key role in synaptic plasticity, but excessive tonic NMDAR activation mediates excitotoxicity associated with many neurological disorders. Therefore, there is much interest in pharmacological agents capable of selectively blocking tonically activated NMDARs while leaving synaptically activated NMDARs intact. Here, we show that an endogenous neurosteroid pregnanolone sulfate is more potent at inhibiting tonically than synaptically activated NMDARs. Further, we report that a novel synthetic analog of pregnanolone sulfate, pregnanolone hemipimelate, inhibits tonic NMDAR currents without inhibiting the NMDAR component of the EPSC and shows neuroprotective activity in vivo without inducing psychomimetic side effects. These results suggest steroids may have a clinical advantage over other known classes of NMDAR inhibitors.
Project description:During development of the central nervous system, there is a shift in the subunit composition of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) resulting in a dramatic acceleration of NMDAR-mediated synaptic currents. This shift coincides with upregulation of the GluN2A subunit and triheteromeric GluN1/2A/2B receptors with fast deactivation kinetics, whereas expression of diheteromeric GluN1/2B receptors with slower deactivation kinetics is decreased. Here, we show that allosteric interactions occur between the glutamate-binding GluN2 subunits in triheteromeric GluN1/2A/2B NMDARs. This allosterism is dominated by the GluN2A subunit and results in functional properties not predicted by those of diheteromeric GluN1/2A and GluN1/2B NMDARs. These findings suggest that GluN1/2A/2B NMDARs may maintain some signaling properties of the GluN2B subunit while having the kinetic properties of GluN1/2A NMDARs and highlight the complexity in NMDAR signaling created by diversity in subunit composition.
Project description:Painful peripheral neuropathy is a severe and difficult-to-treat neurological complication associated with cancer chemotherapy. Although chemotherapeutic drugs such as paclitaxel are known to cause tonic activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) to potentiate nociceptive input, the molecular mechanism involved in this effect is unclear. ?2?-1, commonly known as a voltage-activated calcium channel subunit, is a newly discovered NMDAR-interacting protein and plays a critical role in NMDAR-mediated synaptic plasticity. Here we show that paclitaxel treatment in rats increases the ?2?-1 expression level in the dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord and the mRNA levels of GluN1, GluN2A, and GluN2B in the spinal cord. Paclitaxel treatment also potentiates the ?2?-1-NMDAR interaction and synaptic trafficking in the spinal cord. Strikingly, inhibiting ?2?-1 trafficking with pregabalin, disrupting the ?2?-1-NMDAR interaction with an ?2?-1 C-terminus-interfering peptide, or ?2?-1 genetic ablation fully reverses paclitaxel treatment-induced presynaptic NMDAR-mediated glutamate release from primary afferent terminals to spinal dorsal horn neurons. In addition, intrathecal injection of pregabalin or ?2?-1 C-terminus-interfering peptide and ?2?-1 knockout in mice markedly attenuate paclitaxel-induced pain hypersensitivity. Our findings indicate that ?2?-1 is required for paclitaxel-induced tonic activation of presynaptic NMDARs at the spinal cord level. Targeting ?2?-1-bound NMDARs, not the physiological ?2?-1-free NMDARs, may be a new strategy for treating chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. OPEN SCIENCE BADGES: This article has received a badge for *Open Materials* because it provided all relevant information to reproduce the study in the manuscript. The complete Open Science Disclosure form for this article can be found at the end of the article. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://cos.io/our-services/open-science-badges/.
Project description:The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) in adult forebrain is a heterotetramer mainly composed of two GluN1 subunits and two GluN2A and/or GluN2B subunits. The synaptic expression and relative numbers of GluN2A- and GluN2B-containing NMDARs play critical roles in controlling Ca(2+)-dependent signaling and synaptic plasticity. Previous studies have suggested that the synaptic trafficking of NMDAR subtypes is differentially regulated, but the precise molecular mechanism is not yet clear. In this study, we demonstrated that Bip, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone, selectively interacted with GluN2A and mediated the neuronal activity-induced assembly and synaptic incorporation of the GluN2A-containing NMDAR from dendritic ER. Furthermore, the GluN2A-specific synaptic trafficking was effectively disrupted by peptides interrupting the interaction between Bip and GluN2A. Interestingly, fear conditioning in mice was disrupted by intraperitoneal injection of the interfering peptide before training. In summary, we have uncovered a novel mechanism for the activity-dependent supply of synaptic GluN2A-containing NMDARs, and demonstrated its relevance to memory formation.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) mediate excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system, underlie the induction of synaptic plasticity, and their malfunction is associated with human diseases. Native NMDARs are tetramers composed of two obligatory GluN1 subunits and various combinations of GluN2A-D or, more rarely, GluN3A-B subunits. Each subunit consists of an amino-terminal, ligand-binding, transmembrane and carboxyl-terminal domain. The ligand-binding and transmembrane domains are interconnected via polypeptide chains (linkers). Upon glutamate and glycine binding, these receptors undergo a series of conformational changes leading to the opening of the Ca2+-permeable ion channel. Here we report that different deletions and mutations of amino acids in the M3-S2 linkers of the GluN1 and GluN2B subunits lead to constitutively open channels. Irrespective of whether alterations were introduced in the GluN1 or the GluN2B subunit, application of glutamate or glycine promoted receptor channel activity; however, responses induced by the GluN1 agonist glycine were larger, on average, than those induced by glutamate. We observed the most prominent effect when residues GluN1(L657) and GluN2B(I655) were deleted or altered to glycine. In parallel, molecular modeling revealed that two interacting pairs of residues, the LILI motif (GluN1(L657) and GluN2B(I655)), form a functional unit with the TTTT ring (GluN1(T648) and GluN2B(T647)), described earlier to control NMDAR channel gating. These results provide new insight into the structural organization and functional interplay of the LILI and the TTTT ring during the course of NMDAR channel opening and closing.