VLGR1 (very large G protein-coupled receptor 1), also known as MASS1 (monogenic audiogenic seizure susceptible 1), is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor that contains a large extracellular N terminus with 35 calcium-binding domains. A truncating mutation in the Mass1 gene causes autosomal recessive, sound-induced seizures in the Frings mouse. However, the function of MASS1 and the mechanism underlying Frings mouse epilepsy are not known. Here, we found that MASS1 protein is enriched in the myelinated regions of the superior and inferior colliculi, critical areas for the initiation and propagation of audiogenic seizures. Using a panel of myelin antibodies, we discovered that myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) expression is dramatically decreased in Frings mice. MASS1 inhibits the ubiquitylation of MAG, thus enhancing the stability of this protein, and the calcium-binding domains of MASS1 are essential for this regulation. Furthermore, MASS1 interacts with Gαs/Gαq and activates PKA and PKC in response to extracellular calcium. Suppression of signaling by MASS1 RNAi or a specific inhibitor abrogates MAG up-regulation. We postulate that MASS1 senses extracellular calcium and activates cytosolic PKA/PKC pathways to regulate myelination by means of MAG protein stability in myelin-forming cells of the auditory pathway. Further work is required to determine whether MAG dysregulation is a cause or consequence of audiogenic epilepsy and whether there are other pathways regulated by MASS1.
Keywords: genetics; molecular basis.