Neuronal calcium sensors and synaptic plasticity
ABSTRACT Calcium entry plays a major role in the induction of several forms of synaptic plasticity in different areas of the central nervous system. The spatiotemporal aspects of these calcium signals can determine the type of synaptic plasticity induced, e.g. LTP (long-term potentiation) or LTD (long-term depression). A vast amount of research has been conducted to identify the molecular and cellular signalling pathways underlying LTP and LTD, but many components remain to be identified. Calcium sensor proteins are thought to play an essential role in regulating the initial part of synaptic plasticity signalling pathways. However, there is still a significant gap in knowledge, and it is only recently that evidence for the importance of members of the NCS (neuronal calcium sensor) protein family has started to emerge. The present minireview aims to bring together evidence supporting a role for NCS proteins in plasticity, focusing on emerging roles of NCS-1 and hippocalcin.
SourceAvailable from: Laetitia Francelle[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: HD is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene that consists in a CAG repeat expansion translated into an abnormal poly-glutamine (polyQ) tract in the huntingtin (Htt) protein. The most striking neuropathological finding in HD is the atrophy of the striatum. The regional expression of mutant Htt (mHtt) is ubiquitous in the brain and cannot explain by itself the preferential vulnerability of the striatum in HD. mHtt has been shown to produce an early defect in transcription, through direct alteration of the function of key regulators of transcription and in addition, more indirectly, as a result of compensatory responses to cellular stress. In this review, we focus on gene products that are preferentially expressed in the striatum and have down- or up-regulated expression in HD and, as such, may play a crucial role in the susceptibility of the striatum to mHtt. Many of these striatal gene products are for a vast majority down-regulated and more rarely increased in HD. Recent research shows that some of these striatal markers have a pro-survival/neuroprotective role in neurons (e.g., MSK1, A2A, and CB1 receptors) whereas others enhance the susceptibility of striatal neurons to mHtt (e.g., Rhes, RGS2, D2 receptors). The down-regulation of these latter proteins may be considered as a potential self-defense mechanism to slow degeneration. For a majority of the striatal gene products that have been identified so far, their function in the striatum is unknown and their modifying effects on mHtt toxicity remain to be experimentally addressed. Focusing on these striatal markers may contribute to a better understanding of HD pathogenesis, and possibly the identification of novel therapeutic targets.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:295. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00295 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Reports of primary isolated dystonia inherited in an autosomal-recessive (AR) manner, often lumped together as "DYT2 dystonia," have appeared in the scientific literature for several decades, but no genetic cause has been identified to date. Using a combination of homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing in a consanguineous kindred affected by AR isolated dystonia, we identified homozygous mutations in HPCA, a gene encoding a neuronal calcium sensor protein found almost exclusively in the brain and at particularly high levels in the striatum, as the cause of disease in this family. Subsequently, compound-heterozygous mutations in HPCA were also identified in a second independent kindred affected by AR isolated dystonia. Functional studies suggest that hippocalcin might play a role in regulating voltage-dependent calcium channels. The identification of mutations in HPCA as a cause of AR primary isolated dystonia paves the way for further studies to assess whether "DYT2 dystonia" is a genetically homogeneous condition or not. Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.The American Journal of Human Genetics 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.02.007 · 11.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Visinin-like 1 (VSNL1) gene encodes Visinin-like protein 1, a peripheral biomarker for Alzheimer disease (AD). Little is known, however, about normal VSNL1 expression in brain and the biologic networks in which it participates. Frontal cortex gray matter from 209 subjects without neurodegenerative or psychiatric illness, ranging in age from 16-91, were processed on Affymetrix GeneChip 1.1 ST and Human SNP Array 6.0. VSNL1 expression was unaffected by age and sex, and not significantly associated with SNPs in cis or trans. VSNL1 was significantly co-expressed with genes in pathways for Calcium Signaling, AD, Long Term Potentiation, Long Term Depression, and Trafficking of AMPA Receptors. The association with AD was driven, in part, by correlation with amyloid precursor protein (APP) expression. These findings provide an unbiased link between VSNL1 and molecular mechanisms of AD, including pathways implicated in synaptic pathology in AD. Whether APP may drive increased VSNL1 expression, VSNL1 drives increased APP expression, or both are downstream of common pathogenic regulators will need to be evaluated in model systems.Frontiers in Psychiatry 03/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00030