Direct cleavage of AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 and suppression of AMPA currents by caspase-3: implications for synaptic plasticity and excitotoxic neuronal death.
ABSTRACT Cysteine proteases of the caspase family play central roles in excecuting the cell death process in neurons during development of the nervous system and in neurodegenerative disorders. Recent findings suggest that caspases may also play roles in modulating neuronal plasticity in the absence of cell death. We previously reported that caspases can be activated in dendrites and synapses in response to activation of glutamate receptors. In the present study we demonstrate that the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptor is directly cleaved by caspase-3, and provide evidence that the cleavage of this subunit modulates neuronal excitability in ways that suggest important roles for caspases in regulating synaptic plasticity and cell survival. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in cultured rat hippocampal neurons showed that caspase activation in response to apoptotic stimuli selectively decreases AMPA channel activity without decreasing NMDA channel activity. Perfusion of neurons with recombinant caspase-3 resulted in a decreased AMPA current, demonstrating that caspase-3 activity is sufficient to suppress neuronal responses to glutamate. Exposure of radiolabeled GluR1 to recombinant caspase-3 resulted in cleavage of GluR1, demonstrating that this glutamate receptor protein is a direct substrate of this caspase. Our findings suggest roles for caspases in the modulation of neuronal excitability in physiological settings, and also identify a mechanism whereby caspases ensure that neurons die by apoptosis rather than excitotoxic necrosis in developmental and pathological settings.
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ABSTRACT: During the development of vertebrate neuromuscular junction (NMJ), agrin stabilizes, whereas acetylcholine (ACh) destabilizes AChR clusters, leading to the refinement of synaptic connections. The intracellular mechanism underlying this counteractive interaction remains elusive. Here, we show that caspase-3, the effector protease involved in apoptosis, mediates elimination of AChR clusters. We found that caspase-3 was activated by cholinergic stimulation of cultured muscle cells without inducing cell apoptosis and that this activation was prevented by agrin. Interestingly, inhibition of caspase-3 attenuated ACh agonist-induced dispersion of AChR clusters. Furthermore, we identified Dishevelled1 (Dvl1), a Wnt signaling protein involved in AChR clustering, as the substrate of caspase-3. Blocking Dvl1 cleavage prevented induced dispersion of AChR clusters. Finally, inhibition or genetic ablation of caspase-3 or expression of a caspase-3-resistant form of Dvl1 caused stabilization of aneural AChR clusters. Thus, caspase-3 plays an important role in the elimination of postsynaptic structures during the development of NMJs.Developmental Cell 03/2014; · 10.37 Impact Factor
Dataset: artigo Carlos e meu Neuroscience
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies of the molecular mechanisms of long-term depression (LTD) suggest a crucial role for the signalling pathways of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the weakening and elimination of synapses and dendritic spines. With this backdrop, we suggest that LTD can be considered as the electrophysiological aspect of a larger cell biological programme of synapse involution, which uses localized apoptotic mechanisms to sculpt synapses and circuits without causing cell death.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130138. · 6.23 Impact Factor