Publications (4)29.83 Total impact
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels contribute to the resting membrane potential of many neurons, including dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). VTA DA neurons are bistable, firing in two modes: one characterized by bursts of action potentials, the other by tonic firing at a lower frequency. Here we provide evidence that these firing modes drive bidirectional plasticity of GIRK channel-mediated currents. In acute midbrain slices of mice, we observed that in vitro burst activation of VTA DA neurons potentiated GIRK currents whereas tonic firing depressed these currents. This plasticity was not specific to the metabotropic receptor activating the GIRK channels, as direct activation of GIRK channels by nonhydrolyzable GTP also potentiated the currents. The plasticity of GIRK currents required NMDA receptor and CaMKII activation, and involved protein trafficking through specific PDZ domains of GIRK2c and GIRK3 subunit isoforms. Prolonged tonic firing may thus enhance the probability to switch into burst-firing mode, which then potentiates GIRK currents and favors the return to baseline. In conclusion, activity-dependent GIRK channel plasticity may represent a slow destabilization process favoring the switch between the two firing modes of VTA DA neurons.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psychostimulants induce neuroadaptations in excitatory and fast inhibitory transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Mechanisms underlying drug-evoked synaptic plasticity of slow inhibitory transmission mediated by GABA(B) receptors and G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK/Kir(3)) channels, however, are poorly understood. Here, we show that 1 day after methamphetamine (METH) or cocaine exposure both synaptically evoked and baclofen-activated GABA(B)R-GIRK currents were significantly depressed in VTA GABA neurons and remained depressed for 7 days. Presynaptic inhibition mediated by GABA(B)Rs on GABA terminals was also weakened. Quantitative immunoelectron microscopy revealed internalization of GABA(B1) and GIRK2, which occurred coincident with dephosphorylation of serine 783 (S783) in GABA(B2), a site implicated in regulating GABA(B)R surface expression. Inhibition of protein phosphatases recovered GABA(B)R-GIRK currents in VTA GABA neurons of METH-injected mice. This psychostimulant-evoked impairment in GABA(B)R signaling removes an intrinsic brake on GABA neuron spiking, which may augment GABA transmission in the mesocorticolimbic system.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed drugs used to treat anxiety and insomnia, induce muscle relaxation, control epileptic seizures, promote anaesthesia or produce amnesia. Benzodiazepines are also abused for recreational purposes and the number of benzodiazepine abusers is unfortunately increasing. Within weeks of chronic use, tolerance to the pharmacological effects can develop and withdrawal becomes apparent once the drug is no longer available, which are both conditions indicative of benzodiazepine dependence. Diagnosis of addiction (i.e. compulsive use despite negative consequences) may follow in vulnerable individuals. Here, we review the historical and current use of benzodiazepines from their original synthesis, discovery and commercialisation to the recent identification of the molecular mechanism by which benzodiazepines induce addiction. These results have identified the mechanisms underlying the activation of midbrain dopamine neurons by benzodiazepines, and how these drugs can hijack the mesocorticolimbic reward system. Such knowledge calls for future developments of new receptor subtype specific benzodiazepines with a reduced addiction liability.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G-protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels, which help control neuronal excitability, are important for the response to drugs of abuse. Here, we describe a novel pathway for morphine-dependent enhancement of GIRK channel signaling in hippocampal neurons. Morphine treatment for ∼20 h increased the colocalization of GIRK2 with PSD95, a dendritic spine marker. Western blot analysis and quantitative immunoelectron microscopy revealed an increase in GIRK2 protein and targeting to dendritic spines. In vivo administration of morphine also produced an upregulation of GIRK2 protein in the hippocampus. The mechanism engaged by morphine required elevated intracellular Ca(2+) and was insensitive to pertussis toxin, implicating opioid receptors that may couple to Gq G-proteins. Met-enkephalin, but not the μ-selective (DAMGO) and δ-selective (DPDPE) opioid receptor agonists, mimicked the effect of morphine, suggesting involvement of a heterodimeric opioid receptor complex. Peptide (KN-93) inhibition of CaMKII prevented the morphine-dependent change in GIRK localization, whereas expression of a constitutively activated form of CaMKII mimicked the effects of morphine. Coincident with an increase in GIRK2 surface expression, functional analyses revealed that morphine treatment increased the size of serotonin-activated GIRK currents and Ba(2+)-sensitive basal K(+) currents in neurons. These results demonstrate plasticity in neuronal GIRK signaling that may contribute to the abusive effects of morphine.
University of Geneva
Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
- Faculty of Medicine