[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acute neurotoxicity of oligomeric forms of amyloid-β 1-42 (Aβ) is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, how these oligomers might first impair neuronal function at the onset of pathology is poorly understood. Here we have examined the underlying toxic effects caused by an increase in levels of intracellular Aβ, an event that could be important during the early stages of the disease. We show that oligomerised Aβ induces a rapid enhancement of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission (EPSCA) when applied intracellularly. This effect is dependent on postsynaptic Ca(2+) and PKA. Knockdown of GluA1, but not GluA2, prevents the effect, as does expression of a S845-phosphomutant of GluA1. Significantly, an inhibitor of Ca(2+)-permeable AMPARs (CP-AMPARs), IEM 1460, reverses the increase in the amplitude of EPSCA. These results suggest that a primary neuronal response to intracellular Aβ oligomers is the rapid synaptic insertion of CP-AMPARs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract 9-Substituted phenanthrene-3-carboxylic acids have been reported to have allosteric modulatory activity at the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. This receptor is activated by the excitatory neurotransmitter l-glutamate and has been implicated in a range of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, epilepsy and chronic pain, and in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Herein, the convenient synthesis of a wide range of novel 3,9-disubstituted phenanthrene derivatives starting from a few common intermediates is described. These new phenanthrene derivatives will help to clarify the structural requirements for allosteric modulation of the NMDA receptor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that a family of phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) plays pivotal roles in the brain; in particular, we previously reported that knockout of the ¿ isoform of PI3K (PI3K¿) in mice impaired synaptic plasticity and reduced behavioral flexibility. To further examine the role of PI3K¿ in synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent behavioral tasks we overexpressed p110¿, the catalytic subunit of PI3K¿, in the hippocampal CA1 region. We found that the overexpression of p110¿ impairs NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression (LTD) and hippocampus-dependent spatial learning in the Morris water maze (MWM) task. In contrast, long-term potentiation (LTP) and contextual fear memory were not affected by p110¿ overexpression. These results, together with the previous knockout study, suggest that a critical level of PI3K¿ in the hippocampus is required for successful induction of LTD and normal learning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is motile within dendritic spines, but the mechanisms underlying its regulation are poorly understood. To address this issue, we have simultaneously imaged morphology and ER content of dendritic spines in cultured dissociated mouse hippocampal neurons. Over a 10 min period, spines were highly dynamic, with spines both increasing and decreasing in volume. ER was present in approximately 50% of spines and was also highly dynamic, with a net increase over this period of time. Inhibition of the endogenous activation of NMDA receptors resulted in a reduction in ER growth. Conversely, augmentation of the synaptic activation of NMDA receptors, by elimination of striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase (STEP), resulted in enhanced ER growth. Therefore, NMDA receptors rapidly regulate spine ER dynamics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How do microglia regulate synaptic function? In this issue of Neuron, Zhang et al. (2014) describe a novel form of long-term depression of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission in the hippocampus involving the activation of microglia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microtubule-associated protein tau is a principal component of neurofibrillary tangles, and has been identified as a key molecule in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. However, it is unknown how a protein that is primarily located in axons is involved in a disease that is believed to have a synaptic origin. To investigate a possible synaptic function of tau, we studied synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and found a selective deficit in long-term depression (LTD) in tau knockout mice in vivo and in vitro, an effect that was replicated by RNAi knockdown of tau in vitro. We found that the induction of LTD is associated with the glycogen synthase kinase-3-mediated phosphorylation of tau. These observations demonstrate that tau has a critical physiological function in LTD.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130144. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2013.0144 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) is extensively studied since it is believed to use the same molecular mechanisms that are required for many forms of learning and memory. Unfortunately, many controversies exist, not least the seemingly simple issue concerning the locus of expression of LTP. Here, we review our recent work and some of the extensive literature on this topic and present new data that collectively suggest that LTP can be explained, during its first few hours, by the coexistence of at least three mechanistically distinct processes that are all triggered by the synaptic activation of NMDARs.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130131. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2013.0131 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We summarize the reviews and research papers submitted by speakers at a discussion meeting on Synaptic Plasticity in Health and Disease held at the Royal Society, London on 2-3 December 2013, and a subsequent satellite meeting convened at the Royal Society/Kavli Centre at Chicheley Hall on 4-5 December 2013. Together, these contributions give an overview of current research and controversies in a vibrant branch of neuroscience with important implications for the understanding of many forms of learning and memory, and a wide spectrum of neurological and cognitive disorders.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130129. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2013.0129 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this review, we focus on the role of the Shank family of proteins in autism. In recent years, autism research has been flourishing. With genetic, molecular, imaging and electrophysiological studies being supported by behavioural studies using animal models, there is real hope that we may soon understand the fundamental pathology of autism. There is also genuine potential to develop a molecular-level pharmacological treatment that may be able to deal with the most severe symptoms of autism, and clinical trials are already underway. The Shank family of proteins has been strongly implicated as a contributing factor in autism in certain individuals and sits at the core of the alleged autistic pathway. Here, we analyse studies that relate Shank to autism and discuss what light this sheds on the possible causes of autism.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130143. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2013.0143 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuroendocrine response to episodes of acute stress is crucial for survival whereas the prolonged response to chronic stress can be detrimental. Learning and memory are particularly susceptible to stress with cognitive deficits being well characterized consequences of chronic stress. Although there is good evidence that acute stress can enhance cognitive performance, the mechanism(s) for this are unclear. We find that hippocampal slices, either prepared from rats following 30 min restraint stress or directly exposed to glucocorticoids, exhibit an N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor-independent form of long-term potentiation. We demonstrate that the mechanism involves an NMDA receptor and PKA-dependent insertion of Ca(2+)-permeable AMPA receptors into synapses. These then trigger the additional NMDA receptor-independent form of LTP during high frequency stimulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: JAK-STAT is an efficient and highly regulated system mainly dedicated to the regulation of gene expression. Primarily identified as functioning in hematopoietic cells, its role has been found critical in all cell types, including neurons. This review will focus on JAK-STAT functions in the mature central nervous system. Our recent research suggests the intriguing possibility of a non-nuclear role of STAT3 during synaptic plasticity. Dysregulation of the JAK-STAT pathway in inflammation, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases positions it at the heart of most brain disorders, highlighting the importance to understand how it can influence the fate and functions of brain cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The insular cortex (IC) is known to play important roles in higher brain functions such as memory and pain. Activity-dependent long-term depression (LTD) is a major form of synaptic plasticity related to memory and chronic pain. Previous studies of LTD have mainly focused on the hippocampus, and no study in the IC has been reported. In this study, using a 64-channel recording system, we show for the first time that repetitive low-frequency stimulation (LFS) can elicit frequency-dependent LTD of glutamate receptor-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission in both superficial and deep layers of the IC of adult mice. The induction of LTD in the IC required activation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)5, and L-type voltage-gated calcium channel. Protein phosphatase 1/2A and endocannabinoid signaling are also critical for the induction of LTD. In contrast, inhibiting protein kinase C, protein kinase A, protein kinase Mζ or calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II did not affect LFS-evoked LTD in the IC. Bath application of the group I mGluR agonist (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine produced another form of LTD in the IC, which was NMDA receptor-independent and could not be occluded by LFS-induced LTD. Our studies have characterised the basic mechanisms of LTD in the IC at the network level, and suggest that two different forms of LTD may co-exist in the same population of IC synapses.
European Journal of Neuroscience 08/2013; 38(8). DOI:10.1111/ejn.12330 · 3.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibition of Arp2/3-mediated actin polymerization by PICK1 is a central mechanism to AMPA receptor (AMPAR) internalization and long-term depression (LTD), although the signaling pathways that modulate this process in response to NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation are unknown. Here, we define a function for the GTPase Arf1 in this process. We show that Arf1-GTP binds PICK1 to limit PICK1-mediated inhibition of Arp2/3 activity. Expression of mutant Arf1 that does not bind PICK1 leads to reduced surface levels of GluA2-containing AMPARs and smaller spines in hippocampal neurons, which occludes subsequent NMDA-induced AMPAR internalization and spine shrinkage. In organotypic slices, NMDAR-dependent LTD of AMPAR excitatory postsynaptic currents is abolished in neurons expressing mutant Arf1. Furthermore, NMDAR stimulation downregulates Arf1 activation and binding to PICK1 via the Arf-GAP GIT1. This study defines Arf1 as a critical regulator of actin dynamics and synaptic function via modulation of PICK1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The insular cortex (IC) is widely believed to be an important forebrain structure involved in cognitive and sensory processes such as memory and pain. However, little work has been performed at the cellular level to investigate the synaptic basis of IC-related brain functions. To bridge the gap, the present study was designed to characterize the basic synaptic mechanisms for insular long-term potentiation (LTP). Using a 64-channel recording system, we found that an enduring form of late-phase LTP (L-LTP) could be reliably recorded for at least 3 h in different layers of the IC slices following theta burst stimulation. The induction of insular LTP is protein synthesis-dependent and requires activation of both GluN2A and GluN2B subunits of the NMDA receptor, L-type voltage-gated calcium channels, and metabotropic glutamate receptor 1. The paired-pulse facilitation ratio was unaffected by insular L-LTP induction, and expression of insular L-LTP requires the recruitment of postsynaptic calcium-permeable AMPA receptors. Our results provide the first in vitro report of long-term multi-channel recordings of L-LTP in the IC from adult mice, and suggest its potential important roles in insular-related memory and chronic pain.
Journal of Neurophysiology 05/2013; 110(2). DOI:10.1152/jn.01104.2012 · 2.89 Impact Factor