The Fmr1 knock-out mouse model of fragile X syndrome (Fmr1(-/y)) has an epileptogenic phenotype that is triggered by group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation. We found that a membrane-permeable peptide that disrupts mGluR5 interactions with long-form Homers enhanced mGluR-induced epileptiform burst firing in wild-type (WT) animals, replicating the early stages of hyperexcitability in Fmr1(-/y). The peptide enhanced mGluR-evoked endocannabinoid (eCB)-mediated suppression of inhibitory synapses, decreased it at excitatory synapses in WTs, but had no effect on eCB actions in Fmr1(-/y). At a low concentration, the mGluR agonist did not generate eCBs at excitatory synapses but nevertheless induced burst firing in both Fmr1(-/y) and peptide-treated WT slices. This burst firing was suppressed by a cannabinoid receptor antagonist. We suggest that integrity of Homer scaffolds is essential for normal mGluR-eCB functioning and that aberrant eCB signaling resulting from disturbances of this molecular structure contributes to the epileptic phenotype of Fmr1(-/y).
Keywords: DHPG; Fmr1; epilepsy; hippocampus; inhibitory synapses; seizure.
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