Prenatal cocaine exposure increases synaptic localization of a neuronal RasGEF, GRASP-1 via hyperphosphorylation of AMPAR anchoring protein, GRIP

Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, The City University of New York Medical School, New York, New York, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 09/2011; 6(9):e25019. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025019
Source: PubMed


Prenatal cocaine exposure causes sustained phosphorylation of the synaptic anchoring protein, glutamate receptor interacting protein (GRIP1/2), preventing synaptic targeting of the GluR2/3-containing alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs; J. Neurosci. 29: 6308-6319, 2009). Because overexpression of GRIP-associated neuronal rasGEF protein (GRASP-1) specifically reduces the synaptic targeting of AMPARs, we hypothesized that prenatal cocaine exposure enhances GRASP-1 synaptic membrane localization leading to hyper-activation of ras family proteins and heightened actin polymerization. Our results show a markedly increased GRIP1-associated GRASP-1 content with approximately 40% reduction in its rasGEF activity in frontal cortices (FCX) of 21-day-old (P21) prenatal cocaine-exposed rats. This cocaine effect is the result of a persistent protein kinase C (PKC)- and downstream Src tyrosine kinase-mediated GRIP phosphorylation. The hyperactivated PKC also increased membrane-associated GRASP-1 and activated small G-proteins RhoA, cdc42/Rac1 and Rap1 as well as filamentous actin (F-actin) levels without an effect on the phosphorylation state of actin. Since increased F-actin facilitates protein transport, our results suggest that increased GRASP-1 synaptic localization in prenatal cocaine-exposed brains is an adaptive response to restoring the synaptic expression of AMPA-GluR2/3. Our earlier data demonstrated that persistent PKC-mediated GRIP phosphorylation reduces GluR2/3 synaptic targeting in prenatal cocaine-exposed brains, we now show that the increased GRIP-associated GRASP-1 may contribute to the reduction in GluR2/3 synaptic expression and AMPAR signaling defects.

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    • "Notwithstanding these changes reported to occur in prenatal cocaine-exposed brains, we propose that hyper-activation of PKC resulting in sustained phosphorylation of mGluR1s and the consequent uncoupling of mGluR1 from Homer1 and Gq/11 elucidated here may be one of the prominent events underlying prenatal cocaine-induced cognitive impairment. Moreover, both our previous and current data suggest that blocking excessive PKC translocation, a primary PKC activation mechanism, may be effective in preventing/reversing prenatal cocaine from promoting protracted deficits in AMPAR- and mGluR- regulated neurotransmission [6], [40]. In this regard, therapeutic agents such as lithium and valproate that block PKC translocation without directly interfering with its enzymatic activity [41] may have therapeutic value in maintaining adequate mGluR1-regulated synaptic activity in subjects exposed to cocaine during gestation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cocaine exposure during gestation causes protracted neurobehavioral changes consistent with a compromised glutamatergic system. Although cocaine profoundly disrupts glutamatergic neurotransmission and in utero cocaine exposure negatively affects metabotropic glutamate receptor-type 1 (mGluR1) activity, the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on mGluR1 signaling and the underlying mechanism responsible for the prenatal cocaine effect remain elusive. Using brains of the 21-day-old (P21) prenatal cocaine-exposed rats, we show that prenatal cocaine exposure uncouples mGluR1s from their associated synaptic anchoring protein, Homer1 and signal transducer, Gq/11 proteins leading to markedly reduced mGluR1-mediated phosphoinositide hydrolysis in frontal cortex (FCX) and hippocampus. This prenatal cocaine-induced effect is the result of a sustained protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated phosphorylation of mGluR1 on the serine residues. In support, phosphatase treatment of prenatal cocaine-exposed tissues restores whereas PKC-mediated phosphorylation of saline-treated synaptic membrane attenuates mGluR1 coupling to both Gq/11 and Homer1. Expression of mGluR1, Homer1 or Gα proteins was not altered by prenatal cocaine exposure. Collectively, these data indicate that prenatal cocaine exposure triggers PKC-mediated hyper-phosphorylation of the mGluR1 leading to uncoupling of mGluR1 from its signaling components. Hence, blockade of excessive PKC activation may alleviate abnormalities in mGluR1 signaling and restores mGluR1-regulated brain functions in prenatal cocaine-exposed brains.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE