Roles of NR2A and NR2B in the development of dendritic arbor morphology in vivo.
ABSTRACT: NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are important for neuronal development and circuit formation. The NMDAR subunits NR2A and NR2B are biophysically distinct and differentially expressed during development but their individual contribution to structural plasticity is unknown. Here we test whether NR2A and NR2B subunits have specific functions in the morphological development of tectal neurons in living Xenopus tadpoles. We use exogenous subunit expression and endogenous subunit knockdown to shift synaptic NMDAR composition toward NR2A or NR2B, as shown electrophysiologically. We analyzed the dendritic arbor structure and found evidence for both overlapping and distinct functions of NR2A and NR2B in dendritic development. Control neurons develop regions of high local branch density in their dendritic arbor, which may be important for processing topographically organized inputs. Exogenous expression of either NR2A or NR2B decreases local branch clusters, indicating a requirement for both subunits in dendritic arbor development. Knockdown of endogenous NR2A reduces local branch clusters, whereas knockdown of NR2B has no effect on branch clustering. Analysis of the underlying branch dynamics shows that exogenous NR2B-expressing neurons are more dynamic than control or exogenous NR2A-expressing neurons, demonstrating subunit-specific regulation of branch dynamics. Visual experience-dependent increases in dendritic arbor growth rate seen in control neurons are blocked in both exogenous NR2A- and NR2B-expressing neurons. These experiments indicate that NR2A and NR2B have subunit-specific properties in dendritic arbor development, but also overlapping functions, indicating a requirement for both subunits in neuronal development.
Project description:Considerable evidence indicates that the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) subunits NR2A and NR2B are critical mediators of synaptic plasticity and dendritogenesis; however, how they differentially regulate these processes is unclear. Here we investigate the roles of the NR2A and NR2B subunits, and of their scaffolding proteins PSD-95 and SAP102, in remodeling the dendritic architecture of developing hippocampal neurons (2-25 DIV). Analysis of the dendritic architecture and the temporal and spatial expression patterns of the NMDARs and anchoring proteins in immature cultures revealed a strong positive correlation between synaptic expression of the NR2B subunit and dendritogenesis. With maturation, the pruning of dendritic branches was paralleled by a strong reduction in overall and synaptic expression of NR2B, and a significant elevation in synaptic expression of NR2A and PSD95. Using constructs that alter the synaptic composition, we found that either over-expression of NR2B or knock-down of PSD95 by shRNA-PSD95 augmented dendritogenesis in immature neurons. Reactivation of dendritogenesis could also be achieved in mature cultured neurons, but required both manipulations simultaneously, and was accompanied by increased dendritic clustering of NR2B. Our results indicate that the developmental increase in synaptic expression of PSD95 obstructs the synaptic clustering of NR2B-NMDARs, and thereby restricts reactivation of dendritic branching. Experiments with shRNA-PSD95 and chimeric NR2A/NR2B constructs further revealed that C-terminus of the NR2B subunit (tail) was sufficient to induce robust dendritic branching in mature hippocampal neurons, and suggest that the NR2B tail is important in recruiting calcium-dependent signaling proteins and scaffolding proteins necessary for dendritogenesis.
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:Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) beta receptor activation inhibits N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-evoked currents in hippocampal and cortical neurons via the activation of phospholipase Cgamma, PKC, the release of intracellular calcium, and a rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. In the hippocampus, the majority of NMDA receptors are heteromeric; most are composed of 2 NR1 subunits and 2 NR2A or 2 NR2B subunits. Using NR2B- and NR2A-specific antagonists, we demonstrate that PDGF-BB treatment preferentially inhibits NR2B-containing NMDA receptor currents in CA1 hippocampal neurons and enhances long-term depression in an NR2B subunit-dependent manner. Furthermore, treatment of hippocampal slices or cultures with PDGF-BB decreases the surface localization of NR2B but not of NR2A subunits. PDGFbeta receptors colocalize to a higher degree with NR2B subunits than with NR2A subunits. After neuronal injury, PDGFbeta receptors and PDGF-BB are up-regulated and PDGFbeta receptor activation is neuroprotective against glutamate-induced neuronal damage in cultured neurons. We demonstrate that the neuroprotective effects of PDGF-BB are occluded by the NR2B antagonist, Ro25-6981, and that PDGF-BB promotes NMDA signaling to CREB and ERK1/2. We conclude that PDGFbetaR signaling, by preferentially targeting NR2B receptors, provides an important mechanism for neuroprotection by growth factors in the central nervous system.
Project description: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:Aggregates of amyloid-beta (A?) and tau are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) leading to neurodegeneration and synaptic loss. While increasing evidence suggests that inhibition of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) may mitigate certain aspects of AD neuropathology, the precise role of different NMDAR subtypes for A?- and tau-mediated toxicity remains to be elucidated. Using mouse organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from arcA? transgenic mice combined with Sindbis virus-mediated expression of human wild-type tau protein (hTau), we show that A? caused dendritic spine loss independently of tau. However, the presence of hTau was required for A?-induced cell death accompanied by increased hTau phosphorylation. Inhibition of NR2B-containing NMDARs abolished A?-induced hTau phosphorylation and toxicity by preventing GSK-3? activation but did not affect dendritic spine loss. Inversely, NR2A-containing NMDAR inhibition as well as NR2A-subunit knockout diminished dendritic spine loss but not the A? effect on hTau. Activation of extrasynaptic NMDARs in primary neurons caused degeneration of hTau-expressing neurons, which could be prevented by NR2B-NMDAR inhibition but not by NR2A knockout. Furthermore, caspase-3 activity was increased in arcA? transgenic cultures. Activity was reduced by NR2A knockout but not by NR2B inhibition. Accordingly, caspase-3 inhibition abolished spine loss but not hTau-dependent toxicity in arcA? transgenic slice cultures. Our data show that A? induces dendritic spine loss via a pathway involving NR2A-containing NMDARs and active caspase-3 whereas activation of eSyn NR2B-containing NMDARs is required for hTau-dependent neurodegeneration, independent of caspase-3.
Project description:In cultured spinal neurons, NMDA receptors are absent from excitatory synapses under basal conditions, but can be made to appear at excitatory synapses following blockade of excitatory synaptic activity. The activity dependent synaptic localization of NMDA receptors is critically dependent on both the gradual, global accumulation of the NR2A and NR2B subunits and on a rapid, surface redistribution phase that is primed by the accumulation of NR2A and NR2B and inhibited by synaptic activity. Global changes in NR2A and NR2B accumulation and heterogeneous increases in synaptic NMDA receptor localization can also result from inhibitors of proteasomal processing, from manipulations of proteasomal subunit composition and from media conditioned by neurons undergoing synaptic scaling. While proteasomal processing is a mechanism shared with AMPA receptor scaling in cultured spinal neurons, diffusible factors, heterogeneity, and a rapid surface redistribution phase appear to be unique to activity dependent synaptic NMDA receptor localization.
Project description:The N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor (NMDAR), long implicated in developmental plasticity, shows decay time kinetics that shorten postnatally as NR2A subunits are added to the receptor. Neither the mechanism nor immediate effect of this change is known. We studied developing NMDAR currents by using visual neurons in slices from NR2A knockout (NR2AKO) and WT mice. Both strains show increased dendritic levels of synaptic density scaffolding protein PSD-95 with age. Dendritic levels of NR2A increased at the same time in WT and immunoprecipitated with PSD-95. PSD-95NMDAR binding was significantly decreased in the NR2AKO. Moreover, NMDAR miniature currents (minis) were lost and rise times of NMDAR evoked currents increased in mutant mice. Age-matched WT cells showed NR2A-rich receptors predominating in minis, yet slow NR2B mediated currents persisted in evoked currents. Disrupting photoreceptor activation of retinal ganglion cells eliminated increases in PSD-95 and NR2A in superior collicular dendrites of WT mice and slowed the loss of miniature NMDAR currents in NR2AKOs. These data demonstrate that NMDARs that respond to single quantal events mature faster during development by expressing the NR2A subunit earlier than NMDARs that respond to evoked release. We hypothesize that NR2A-rich NMDARs may be localized to the center of developing synapses by an activity-dependent process that involves the targeting of PSD-95 to the postsynaptic density. Neonatal receptors become restricted to perisynpatic or extrasynaptic sites, where they participate primarily in evoked currents.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors are key mediators of excitatory transmission and are implicated in many forms of synaptic plasticity. These receptors are heterotetrameres consisting of two obligatory NR1 and two regulatory subunits, usually NR2A or NR2B. The NR2B subunits are abundant in the early postnatal brain, while the NR2A/NR2B ratio increases during early postnatal development. This shift is driven by NMDA receptor activity. A functional interplay of the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor Related Protein 1 (LRP1) NMDA receptor has already been reported. Such abilities as interaction of LRP1 with NMDA receptor subunits or its important role in tPa-mediated NMDA receptor signaling were already demonstrated. Moreover, mice harboring a conditional neuronal knock-out mutation of the entire Lrp1 gene display NMDA-associated behavioral changes. However, the exact role of LRP1 on NMDA receptor function remains still elusive. RESULTS: To provide a mechanistic explanation for such effects we investigated whether an inactivating knock-in mutation into the NPxY2 motif of LRP1 might influence the cell surface expression of LRP1 and NMDA receptors in primary cortical neurons. Here we demonstrate that a knock-in into the NPxY2 motif of LRP1 results in an increased surface expression of LRP1 and NR2B NMDA receptor subunit due to reduced endocytosis rates of LRP1 and the NR2B subunit in primary neurons derived from LRP1?NPxY2 animals. Furthermore, we demonstrate an altered phosphorylation pattern of S1480 and Y1472 in the NR2B subunit at the surface of LRP1?NPxY2 neurons, while the respective kinases Fyn and casein kinase II are not differently regulated compared with wild type controls. Performing co-immunoprecipitation experiments we demonstrate that binding of LRP1 to NR2B might be linked by PSD95, is phosphorylation dependent and this regulation mechanism is impaired in LRP1?NPxY2 neurons. Finally, we demonstrate hyperactivity and changes in spatial and reversal learning in LRP1?NPxY2 mice, confirming the mechanistic interaction in a physiological readout. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, our data demonstrate that LRP1 plays a critical role in the regulation of NR2B expression at the cell surface and may provide a mechanistic explanation for the behavioral abnormalities detected in neuronal LRP1 knock-out animals reported earlier.
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:Abnormalities in NMDA receptor (NMDAR) function have been implicated in schizophrenia. Here, we show that dysbindin, a schizophrenia-susceptibility gene widely expressed in the forebrain, controls the surface expression of NMDARs in a subunit-specific manner. Imaging analyses revealed a marked increase in surface NR2A, but not NR2B, in hippocampal neurons derived from dysbindin-null mutant mice (Dys-/-). Exogenous expression of dysbindin reduced NR2A surface expression in both wild-type and Dys-/- neurons. Biotinylation experiments also revealed an increase in surface expression of endogenous NR2A in Dys-/- neurons. Disruption of the dysbindin gene dramatically increased NR2A-mediated synaptic currents, without affecting AMPA receptor currents, in hippocampal CA1 neurons. The Dys-/- hippocampal slices exhibited an enhanced LTP, whereas basal synaptic transmission, presynaptic properties, and LTD were normal. Thus, dysbindin controls hippocampal LTP by selective regulation of the surface expression of NR2A. These results reveal subunit-specific regulation of NMDARs by dysbindin, providing an unexpected link between these two proteins implicated in schizophrenia.