Background: TRPM4 channels are Ca2+-activated nonselective cation channels which are deeply involved in physiological and pathological conditions. However, their trafficking mechanism and binding partners are still elusive.
Results: We have found the 14-3-3γ as a binding partner for TRPM4b using its N-terminal fragment from the yeast-two hybrid screening. Ser88 at the N-terminus of TRPM4b is critical for 14-3-3γ binding by showing GST pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation. Heterologous overexpression of 14-3-3γ in HEK293T cells increased TRPM4b expression on the plasma membrane which was measured by whole-cell recordings and cell surface biotinylation experiment. Surface expression of TRPM4b was greatly reduced by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) against 14-3-3γ. Next, endogenous TRPM4b-mediated currents were electrophysiologically characterized by application of glutamate and 9-phenanthrol, a TRPM4b specific antagonist in HT-22 cells which originated from mouse hippocampal neurons. Glutamate-induced TRPM4b currents were significantly attenuated by shRNAs against 14-3-3γ or TRPM4b in these cells. Finally, glutamate-induced cell death was greatly prevented by treatment of 9-phenanthrol or 14-3-3γ shRNA.
Conclusion: These results showed that the cell surface expression of TRPM4 channels is mediated by 14-3-3γ binding, and the specific inhibition of this trafficking process can be a potential therapeutic target for glutamate-induced neuronal cell death.