Enhanced recruitment of endosomal Na+/H+ exchanger NHE6 into Dendritic spines of hippocampal pyramidal neurons during NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation

J Neurosci. 2013 Jan 9;33(2):595-610. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2583-12.2013.


Postsynaptic endosomal trafficking has emerged as a principal regulatory mechanism of structural and functional plasticity of glutamatergic synapses. Recycling endosomes perform activity-dependent transport of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) and lipids to the postsynaptic membrane, activities that are known to contribute to long-term synaptic potentiation and hypothesized to subserve learning and memory processes in the brain. Recently, genetic defects in a widely expressed vesicular pH-regulating transporter, the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger NHE6 isoform, have been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders including severe X-linked mental retardation and autism. However, little information is available regarding the cellular properties of this transporter in the CNS. Here, we show by quantitative light microscopy that the protein abundance of NHE6 is developmentally regulated in area CA1 of the mouse hippocampus. Within pyramidal neurons, NHE6 was found to localize to discrete puncta throughout the soma and neurites, with noticeable accumulation at dendritic spines and presynaptic terminals. Dual immunolabeling of dendritic spines revealed that NHE6 partially colocalizes with typical markers of early and recycling endosomes as well as with the AMPAR subunit GluA1. Significantly, NHE6-containing vesicles exhibited enhanced translocation to dendritic spine heads during NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation. These data suggest that NHE6 may play a unique, previously unrecognized, role at glutamatergic synapses that are important for learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • CHO Cells
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centrifugation
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Spines / ultrastructure
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glycine / physiology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / ultrastructure
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism*
  • Pyramidal Cells / ultrastructure
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology*
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers / metabolism*


  • NHE6 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers
  • Glycine
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 1