Activity-Dependent Transport of the Transcriptional Coactivator CRTC1 from Synapse to Nucleus
ABSTRACT Long-lasting changes in synaptic efficacy, such as those underlying long-term memory, require transcription. Activity-dependent transport of synaptically localized transcriptional regulators provides a direct means of coupling synaptic stimulation with changes in transcription. The CREB-regulated transcriptional coactivator (CRTC1), which is required for long-term hippocampal plasticity, binds CREB to potently promote transcription. We show that CRTC1 localizes to synapses in silenced hippocampal neurons but translocates to the nucleus in response to localized synaptic stimulation. Regulated nuclear translocation occurs only in excitatory neurons and requires calcium influx and calcineurin activation. CRTC1 is controlled in a dual fashion with activity regulating CRTC1 nuclear translocation and cAMP modulating its persistence in the nucleus. Neuronal activity triggers a complex change in CRTC1 phosphorylation, suggesting that CRTC1 may link specific types of stimuli to specific changes in gene expression. Together, our results indicate that synapse-to-nuclear transport of CRTC1 dynamically informs the nucleus about synaptic activity.
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ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) involve years of gradual preclinical progression. It is widely anticipated that in order to be effective, treatments should target early stages of disease, but we lack conceptual frameworks to identify and treat early manifestations relevant to disease progression. Here we discuss evidence that a focus on physiological features of neuronal subpopulations most vulnerable to NDDs, and how those features are affected in disease, points to signaling pathways controlling excitation in selectively vulnerable neurons, and to mechanisms regulating calcium and energy homeostasis. These hypotheses could be tested in neuronal stress tests involving animal models or patient-derived iPS cells. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Neuron 03/2015; 85(5):901-910. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.063 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The nucleus is a critical subcellular compartment for the pathogenesis of polyglutamine disorders, including Huntington's disease (HD). Recent studies suggest the first 17-amino-acid domain (N17) of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) mediates its nuclear exclusion in cultured cells. Here, we test whether N17 could be a molecular determinant of nuclear mHTT pathogenesis in vivo. BAC transgenic mice expressing mHTT lacking the N17 domain (BACHD-ΔN17) show dramatically accelerated mHTT pathology exclusively in the nucleus, which is associated with HD-like transcriptionopathy. Interestingly, BACHD-ΔN17 mice manifest more overt disease-like phenotypes than the original BACHD mice, including body weight loss, movement deficits, robust striatal neuron loss, and neuroinflammation. Mechanistically, N17 is necessary for nuclear exclusion of small mHTT fragments that are part of nuclear pathology in HD. Together, our study suggests that N17 modifies nuclear pathogenesis and disease severity in HD mice by regulating subcellular localization of known nuclear pathogenic mHTT species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Neuron 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.008 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In 1984 Sir Francis Crick hypothesized that memory is recorded in the brain as reversible modifications to DNA and protein, but acknowledged that most biomolecules turn over too rapidly to account for long-term memories. To accommodate this possible paradox he modeled an enzymatic mechanism to maintain modifications on hemi-modified multimeric symmetrical molecules. While studies on the turnover of chromatin modifications that may be involved in memory are in their infancy, an exploration of his model in the light of modern epigenetics produced somewhat surprising results. The molecular turnover rates for two classes of chromatin modifications believed to record and store durable memories were approximated from experiments using diverse approaches and were found to be remarkably short. The half-lives of DNA cytosine methylation and post-translationally modified nucleosomal histones are measured in hours and minutes, respectively, for a subset of sites on chromatin controlling gene expression. It appears likely that the turnover of DNA methylation in the brain and in neurons, in particular, is even more rapid than in other cell types and organs, perhaps accommodating neuronal plasticity, learning, and memory. The machinery responsible for the rapid turnover of DNA methylation and nucleosomal histone modifications is highly complex, partially redundant, and appears to act in a sequence specific manner. Molecular symmetry plays an important part in maintaining site-specific turnover, but its particular role in memory maintenance is unknown. Elucidating Crick's paradox, the contradiction between rapid molecular turnover of modified biomolecules and long-term memory storage, appears fundamental to understanding cognitive function and neurodegenerative disease.Epigenetics & Chromatin 12/2014; 7(1):37. DOI:10.1186/1756-8935-7-37 · 4.46 Impact Factor