Micah Simmons

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States

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Publications (4)16.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have demonstrated brain region- and subunit-specific abnormalities in the expression of subunits of the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptors in schizophrenia. In addition, abnormalities in the expression of proteins that regulate the forward trafficking of AMPA receptors through the cell have been reported. These findings suggest abnormal trafficking of AMPA receptors as a mechanism underlying dysregulated glutamate neurotransmission in schizophrenia. AMPA receptor subunits (GluR1-4) assemble to form AMPA receptor complexes in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These subunits undergo the posttranslational modification of N-linked glycosylation in the ER and the Golgi apparatus before the assembled receptors are transported to the plasma membrane. In this study, we measured expression of AMPA receptors and the extent of their N-glycosylation using Western blot analysis in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in subjects with schizophrenia (N=35) and a comparison group (N=31). N-glycosylation was assessed using molecular mass shift assays following digestion with endoglycosidase H (Endo H), which removes immature high mannose-containing sugars, and with peptide-N-glycosidase F (PNGase F), which removes all N-linked sugars. Of the four AMPA receptor subunits, only GluR4 was significantly increased in schizophrenia. GluR2 and GluR4 were both sensitive to Endo H and PNGase F treatment. Endo H-mediated deglycosylation of GluR2 resulted in a significantly smaller pool of GluR2 protein to shift in schizophrenia, reflecting less N-linked high mannose and/or hybrid sugars on the GluR2 protein in this illness. This was confirmed by immunoisolation of GluR2 and probing with Concanavalin A, a mannose specific lectin; in subjects with schizophrenia GluR2 was significantly less reactive to Concanavalin A. Altered N-linked glycosylation of the GluR2 subunit in schizophrenia suggests abnormal trafficking of AMPA receptors from the ER to the synaptic membrane in schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Research 02/2013; · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia has been proposed to be associated with abnormal glutamatergic neurotransmission. The AMPA subtype of glutamate receptors (AMPARs) mediates fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain, and their trafficking and function is regulated in part by AMPAR auxiliary proteins including the cornichons (CNIH) and transmembrane AMPAR-regulatory proteins. Abnormal regulation of AMPARs through altered expression of these auxiliary proteins could induce changes in glutamatergic neurotransmission and thus the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In this study, transcript expression of cornichon homologs 1-4 was measured in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex from schizophrenia (N=25) and comparison (N=25) patient groups by comparative quantitative real-time PCR. Significant upregulation of CNIH-1, CNIH-2, and CNIH-3 mRNA expression was found in schizophrenia, with no change in CNIH-4 expression. To determine the effect of antipsychotic treatment on the expression of these genes, cornichon mRNA expression was assayed in the frontal cortex of rats treated chronically with haloperidol decanoate and no changes in any of the cornichon transcripts were found. Abnormal expression of the CNIH family of genes is consistent with cornichon-mediated AMPAR trafficking abnormalities in schizophrenia, and suggests a new mechanism contributing toward the pathophysiology of this illness.
    Neuroreport 10/2012; · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impairment of glutamate neurons that relay sensory and cognitive information from the medial dorsal thalamus to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and other cortical regions may contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In this study, we have assessed the cell-specific expression of glutamatergic transcripts in the medial dorsal thalamus. We used laser capture microdissection to harvest two populations of medial dorsal thalamic cells, one enriched with glutamatergic relay neurons and the other with gamma-aminobutyric acidergic neurons and astroglia, from postmortem brains of subjects with schizophrenia (n = 14) and a comparison group (n = 20). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction of extracted RNA was used to assay gene expression in the different cell populations. The transcripts encoding the ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits NR2D, GluR3, GluR6, GluR7, and the intracellular proteins GRIP1 and SynGAP1 were significantly decreased in relay neurons but not in the mixed glial and interneuron population in schizophrenia. Our data suggest that reduced ionotropic glutamatergic expression occurs selectively in neurons, which give rise to the cortical projections of the medial dorsal thalamus in schizophrenia, rather than in thalamic cells that function locally. Our findings indicate that glutamatergic innervation is dysfunctional in the circuitry between the medial dorsal thalamus and cortex.
    Biological psychiatry 05/2011; 70(7):646-54. · 8.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNA editing is a posttranscriptional process which critically modulates the function of several neurotransmitter receptors regulating mood, anxiety, learning, and memory. Data from several postmortem studies have shown increased 5-hydroxytryptamine-2C receptor RNA editing in mood disorders and suicide, and therefore the 5-hydroxytryptamine-2C receptor might be expected to have reduced signal transduction in these patients. In this study, we have tested the hypothesis that the expression levels of the enzymes which catalyze RNA editing, adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 (ADAR1) and ADAR2, are also abnormal in suicide. Gene expression was measured in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of individuals from the Stanley Consortium Brain series, which includes patients with schizophrenia (n=15), major depression (n=15), bipolar disorder (n=15), and a comparison group (n=14). Of the psychiatric patients, 20 were suicide victims. ADAR1 expression was found to be significantly increased in major depressive suicide victims compared with patients who did not commit suicide. Neither ADAR1 nor ADAR2 expression was altered in any of the other diagnostic groups. These data indicate that ADAR1 could play a role in the pathophysiology of suicide in patients with major depression.
    Neuroreport 10/2010; 21(15):993-7. · 1.40 Impact Factor