Coffin-Lowry syndrome (CLS) is a syndromic form of mental retardation caused by loss of function mutations in the X-linked RPS6KA3 gene, which encodes RSK2, a serine/threonine kinase acting in the MAPK/ERK pathway. The mouse invalidated for the Rps6ka3 (Rsk2-KO) gene displays learning and long-term spatial memory deficits. In the current study, we compared hippocampal gene expression profiles from Rsk2-KO and normal littermate mice to identify changes in molecular pathways. Differential expression was observed for 100 genes encoding proteins acting in various biological pathways, including cell growth and proliferation, cell death and higher brain function. The twofold up-regulated gene (Gria2) was of particular interest because it encodes the subunit GLUR2 of the AMPA glutamate receptor. AMPA receptors mediate most fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. We provide evidence that in the hippocampus of Rsk2-KO mice, expression of GLUR2 at the mRNA and at the protein levels is significantly increased, whereas basal AMPA receptor-mediated transmission in the hippocampus of Rsk2-KO mice is significantly decreased. This is the first time that such deregulations have been demonstrated in the mouse model of the Coffin-Lowry syndrome. Our findings suggest that a defect in AMPA neurotransmission and plasticity contribute to mental retardation in CLS patients.
© Springer-Verlag 2010