G protein-coupled receptor signalling in astrocytes in health and disease: A focus on metabotropic glutamate receptors
ABSTRACT Work published over the past 10-15 years has caused the neuroscience community to engage in a process of constant re-evaluation of the roles of glial cells in the mammalian central nervous system. Recent emerging evidence suggests that, in addition to carrying out various homeostatic functions within the CNS, astrocytes can also engage in a two-way dialogue with neurons. Astrocytes possess many of the receptors, and some of the ion channels, present in neurons endowing them with an ability to sense and respond to an array of neuronal signals. In addition, an expanding number of small molecules and proteins have been shown to be released by astrocytes in both health and disease. In this commentary we will highlight advances in our understanding of G protein-coupled receptor signalling in astrocytes, with a particular emphasis on metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors. Discussion will focus on the major mGlu receptors expressed in astrocytes, mGlu3 and mGlu5, how these receptors can influence different aspects of astrocyte physiology, and how signalling by these G protein-coupled receptors might change under pathophysiological circumstances.
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ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest family of membrane signaling proteins, respond to neurotransmitters, hormones and small environmental molecules. The neuronal function of many GPCRs has been difficult to resolve because of an inability to gate them with subtype specificity, spatial precision, speed and reversibility. To address this, we developed an approach for opto-chemical engineering of native GPCRs. We applied this to the metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) to generate light-agonized and light-antagonized mGluRs (LimGluRs). The light-agonized LimGluR2, on which we focused, was fast, bistable and supported multiple rounds of on/off switching. Light gated two of the primary neuronal functions of mGluR2: suppression of excitability and inhibition of neurotransmitter release. We found that the light-antagonized tool LimGluR2-block was able to manipulate negative feedback of synaptically released glutamate on transmitter release. We generalized the optical control to two additional family members: mGluR3 and mGluR6. This system worked in rodent brain slices and in zebrafish in vivo, where we found that mGluR2 modulated the threshold for escape behavior. These light-gated mGluRs pave the way for determining the roles of mGluRs in synaptic plasticity, memory and disease.Nature Neuroscience 03/2013; 16(4). DOI:10.1038/nn.3346 · 14.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) is highly expressed throughout the forebrain and hippocampus. Several lines of evidence support the role of this receptor in brain development and developmental disorders, as well as in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study, the expression pattern of mGluR5 was investigated by immunocytochemistry in the developing hippocampus from patients with Down's syndrome (DS) and in adults with DS and AD. mGluR5 was expressed in developing human hippocampus from the earliest stages tested (9 gestational weeks), with strong expression in the ventricular/subventricular zones. We observed a consistent similar temporal and spatial neuronal pattern of expression in DS hippocampus. However, in DS we detected increased prenatal mGluR5 expression in white matter astrocytes, which persisted postnatally. In addition, in adult DS patients with widespread AD-associated neurodegeneration (DS-AD) increased mGluR5 expression was detected in astrocytes around amyloid plaque. In vitro data confirm the existence of a modulatory crosstalk between amyloid-β and mGluR5 in human astrocytes. These findings demonstrate a developmental regulation of mGluR5 in human hippocampus and suggest a role for this receptor in astrocytes during early development in DS hippocampus, as well as a potential contribution to the pathogenesis of AD-associated pathology.Current Alzheimer Research 08/2014; DOI:10.2174/1567205011666140812115423 · 3.80 Impact Factor