Background: Variants in dyslexia-associated genes, including DCDC2, have been linked to altered neocortical activation, suggesting that dyslexia associated genes might play as yet unspecified roles in neuronal physiology.
Methods: Whole-cell patch clamp recordings were used to compare the electrophysiological properties of regular spiking pyramidal neurons of neocortex in Dcdc2 knockout (KO) and wild-type mice. Ribonucleic acid sequencing and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction were performed to identify and characterize changes in gene expression in Dcdc2 KOs.
Results: Neurons in KOs showed increased excitability and decreased temporal precision in action potential firing. The RNA sequencing screen revealed that the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) subunit Grin2B was elevated in Dcdc2 KOs, and an electrophysiological assessment confirmed a functional increase in spontaneous NMDAR-mediated activity. Remarkably, the decreased action potential temporal precision could be restored in mutants by treatment with either the NMDAR antagonist (2R)-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid or the NMDAR 2B subunit-specific antagonist Ro 25-6981.
Conclusions: These results link the function of the dyslexia-associated gene Dcdc2 to spike timing through activity of NMDAR.
Keywords: Dcdc2; Grin2B; dyslexia; excitability; neocortex; spike-time precision.
Copyright © 2014 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.