Optogenetic activation of LiGluR-expressing astrocytes evokes anion channel-mediated glutamate release.

INSERM U603, CNRS UMR 8154, Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie et Nouvelles Microscopies, 45 rue des Saints Pères, Paris, F-75006 France.
The Journal of Physiology (Impact Factor: 4.54). 01/2012; 590(Pt 4):855-73. DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.219345
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Increases in astrocyte Ca(2+) have been suggested to evoke gliotransmitter release, however, the mechanism of release, the identity of such transmitter(s), and even whether and when such release occurs, are controversial, largely due to the lack of a method for selective and reproducible stimulation of electrically silent astrocytes. Here we show that photoactivation of the light-gated Ca(2+)-permeable ionotropic GluR6 glutamate receptor (LiGluR), and to a lesser extent the new Ca(2+)-translocating channelrhodopsin CatCh, evokes more reliable Ca(2+) elevation than the mutant channelrhodopsin 2, ChR2(H134R) in cultured cortical astrocytes. We used evanescent-field excitation for near-membrane Ca(2+) imaging, and epifluorescence to activate and inactivate LiGluR. By alternating activation and inactivation light pulses, the LiGluR-evoked Ca(2+) rises could be graded in amplitude and duration. The optical stimulation of LiGluR-expressing astrocytes evoked probabilistic glutamate-mediated signalling to adjacent LiGluR-non-expressing astrocytes. This astrocyte-to-astrocyte signalling was insensitive to the inactivation of vesicular release, hemichannels and glutamate-transporters, and sensitive to anion channel blockers. Our results show that LiGluR is a powerful tool to selectively and reproducibly activate astrocytes.

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    ABSTRACT: Optogenetic technology, also known as optogenetics, is a novel multidisciplinary field in biotechnology that integrates genetic engineering, electrophysiology, and optical and electronic engineering. This recently developed technology has evolved rapidly and generated considerable excitement in neuroscience research. This technology successfully solves the severe problem of achieving both high temporal and spatial precision within intact neural tissues of animals that electrical stimulation and pharmacological methods cannot achieve. It allows neurons to express light-sensitive genes that enable the identification, dissection, and manipulation of specific neural populations and their connections in the tissues and organs of awake animals with unprecedented spatial and temporal precision. Light-sensitive genes chiefly including the genetically targeted light-gated channels channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and halorhodopsin (NpHR) cause intracellular ion flow during optical illumination. Subsequently, the neurons undergo a series of changes resulting from membrane depolarization or hyperpolarization. To date, there are many published research articles and reviews that describe this new technology; however, few of the reports concern its application to neuropsychiatric diseases. In this review, we summarize the most recent optogenetic research in these diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, fear, reward behaviors, and sleep disorders. We propose that novel optogenetics technology creates excellent opportunities for innovative treatment strategies of neuropsychiatric diseases.
    International Journal of Neuroscience 12/2012; 123(1). DOI:10.3109/00207454.2012.728651 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the modern view of synaptic transmission, astrocytes are no longer confined to the role of merely supportive cells. Although they do not generate action potentials, they nonetheless exhibit electrical activity and can influence surrounding neurons through gliotransmitter release. In this work, we explored whether optogenetic activation of glial cells could act as an amplification mechanism to optical neural stimulation via gliotransmission to the neural network. We studied the modulation of gliotransmission by selective photo-activation of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and by means of a matrix of individually addressable super-bright microLEDs (mu LEDs) with an excitation peak at 470 nm. We combined Ca2+ imaging techniques and concurrent patch-clamp electrophysiology to obtain subsequent glia/neural activity. First, we tested the mu LEDs efficacy in stimulating ChR2-transfected astrocyte. ChR2-induced astrocytic current did not desensitize overtime, and was linearly increased and prolonged by increasing mu LED irradiance in terms of intensity and surface illumination. Subsequently, ChR2 astrocytic stimulation by broad-field LED illumination with the same spectral profile, increased both glial cells and neuronal calcium transient frequency and sEPSCs suggesting that few ChR2-transfected astrocytes were able to excite surrounding not-ChR2-transfected astrocytes and neurons. Finally, by using the mu LEDs array to selectively light stimulate ChR2 positive astrocytes we were able to increase the synaptic activity of single neurons surrounding it. In conclusion, ChR2-transfected astrocytes and mu LEDs system were shown to be an amplifier of synaptic activity in mixed corticalneuronal and glial cells culture.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108689 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundActivation of G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) in astrocytes leads to Ca2+-dependent glutamate release via Bestrophin 1 (Best1) channel. Whether receptor-mediated glutamate release from astrocytes can regulate synaptic plasticity remains to be fully understood.ResultsWe show here that Best1-mediated astrocytic glutamate activates the synaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and modulates NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity. Our data show that activation of the protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1) in hippocampal CA1 astrocytes elevates the glutamate concentration at Schaffer collateral-CA1 (SC-CA1) synapses, resulting in activation of GluN2A-containing NMDARs and NMDAR-dependent potentiation of synaptic responses. Furthermore, the threshold for inducing NMDAR-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) is lowered when astrocytic glutamate release accompanied LTP induction, suggesting that astrocytic glutamate is significant in modulating synaptic plasticity.ConclusionsOur results provide direct evidence for the physiological importance of channel-mediated astrocytic glutamate in modulating neural circuit functions.
    Molecular Brain 02/2015; 8(1). DOI:10.1186/s13041-015-0097- · 4.35 Impact Factor


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May 26, 2014