Food for thought: the importance of glucose and other energy substrates for sustaining brain function under varying levels of activity.
ABSTRACT The brain requires a constant and substantial energy supply to maintain its main functions. For decades, it was assumed that glucose was the major if not the only significant source of energy for neurons. This view was supported by the expression of specific facilitative glucose transporters on cerebral blood vessels, as well as neurons. Despite the fact that glucose remains a key energetic substrate for the brain, growing evidence suggests a different scenario. Thus astrocytes, a major type of glial cells that express their own glucose transporter, play a critical role in coupling synaptic activity with glucose utilization. It was shown that glutamatergic activity triggers an enhancement of aerobic glycolysis in this cell type. As a result, lactate is provided to neurons as an additional energy substrate. Indeed, lactate has proven to be a preferential energy substrate for neurons under various conditions. A family of proton-linked carriers known as monocarboxylate transporters has been described and specific members have been found to be expressed by endothelial cells, astrocytes and neurons. Moreover, these transporters are subject to fine regulation of their expression levels and localization, notably in neurons, which suggests that lactate supply could be adjusted as a function of their level of activity. Considering the importance of energetics in the aetiology of several neurodegenerative diseases, a better understanding of its cellular and molecular underpinnings might have important implications for the future development of neuroprotective strategies.
- SourceAvailable from: Yuan Tian[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Copy-number variants (CNVs) are a major contributor to the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but the functional impact of CNVs remains largely unexplored. Because brain tissue is not available from most samples, we interrogated gene expression in lymphoblasts from 244 families with discordant siblings in the Simons Simplex Collection in order to identify potentially pathogenic variation. Our results reveal that the overall frequency of significantly misexpressed genes (which we refer to here as outliers) identified in probands and unaffected siblings does not differ. However, in probands, but not their unaffected siblings, the group of outlier genes is significantly enriched in neural-related pathways, including neuropeptide signaling, synaptogenesis, and cell adhesion. We demonstrate that outlier genes cluster within the most pathogenic CNVs (rare de novo CNVs) and can be used for the prioritization of rare CNVs of potentially unknown significance. Several nonrecurrent CNVs with significant gene-expression alterations are identified (these include deletions in chromosomal regions 3q27, 3p13, and 3p26 and duplications at 2p15), suggesting that these are potential candidate ASD loci. In addition, we identify distinct expression changes in 16p11.2 microdeletions, 16p11.2 microduplications, and 7q11.23 duplications, and we show that specific genes within the 16p CNV interval correlate with differences in head circumference, an ASD-relevant phenotype. This study provides evidence that pathogenic structural variants have a functional impact via transcriptome alterations in ASDs at a genome-wide level and demonstrates the utility of integrating gene expression with mutation data for the prioritization of genes disrupted by potentially pathogenic mutations.The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2012; 91(1):38-55. · 11.20 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hypothalamic glucose-excited (GE) neurons contribute to whole-body glucose homeostasis and participate in the detection of hypoglycaemia. This system appears defective in type 1 diabetes, in which hypoglycaemia commonly occurs. Unfortunately, it is at present unclear which molecular components required for glucose sensing are produced in individual neurons and how these are functionally linked. We used the GT1-7 mouse hypothalamic cell line to address these issues. Electrophysiological recordings, coupled with measurements of gene expression and protein levels and activity, were made from unmodified GT1-7 cells and cells in which AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) catalytic subunit gene expression and activity were reduced. Hypothalamic GT1-7 neurons express the genes encoding glucokinase and ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP)) subunits K ( ir ) 6.2 and Sur1 and exhibit GE-type glucose-sensing behaviour. Lowered extracellular glucose concentration hyperpolarised the cells in a concentration-dependent manner, an outcome that was reversed by tolbutamide. Inhibition of glucose uptake or metabolism hyperpolarised cells, showing that energy metabolism is required to maintain their resting membrane potential. Short hairpin (sh)RNA directed to Ampkα2 (also known as Prkaa2) reduced GT1-7 cell AMPKα2, but not AMPKα1, activity and lowered the threshold for hypoglycaemia-induced hyperpolarisation. shAmpkα1 (also known as Prkaa1) had no effect on glucose-sensing or AMPKα2 activity. Decreased uncoupling protein 2 (Ucp2) mRNA was detected in AMPKα2-reduced cells, suggesting that AMPKα2 regulates UCP2 levels. We have demonstrated that GT1-7 cells closely mimic GE neuron glucose-sensing behaviour, and reducing AMPKα2 blunts their responsiveness to hypoglycaemic challenge, possibly by altering UCP2 activity. These results show that suppression of AMPKα2 activity inhibits normal glucose-sensing behaviour and may contribute to defective detection of hypoglycaemia.Diabetologia 07/2012; 55(9):2432-44. · 6.49 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: 6-Phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase-3 (PFKFB3) is a master regulator of glycolysis by its ability to synthesize fructose-2,6-bisphosphate, a potent allosteric activator of 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase. Being a substrate of the E3 ubiquitin ligase anaphase-promoting complex-Cdh1 (APC(Cdh1)), PFKFB3 is targeted to proteasomal degradation in neurons. Here, we show that activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDAR) stabilized PFKFB3 protein in cortical neurons. Expressed PFKFB3 was found to be mainly localized in the nucleus, where it is subjected to degradation; however, expression of PFKFB3 lacking the APC(Cdh1)-targeting KEN motif, or following NMDAR stimulation, promoted accumulation of PFKFB3 and its release from the nucleus to the cytosol through an excess Cdh1-inhibitable process. NMDAR-mediated increase in PFKFB3 yielded neurons having a higher glycolysis and lower pentose-phosphate pathway (PPP); this led to oxidative stress and apoptotic neuronal death that was counteracted by overexpressing glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, the rate-limiting enzyme of the PPP. Furthermore, expression of the mutant form of PFKFB3 lacking the KEN motif was sufficient to trigger oxidative stress and apoptotic death of neurons. These results reveal that, by inhibition of APC(Cdh1), glutamate receptors activation stabilizes PFKFB3 thus switching neuronal metabolism leading to oxidative damage and neurodegeneration.Cell death and differentiation 03/2012; 19(10):1582-9. · 8.24 Impact Factor