The regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins are a diverse family of proteins that function as central components of G protein and other signaling pathways. In the brain, regulator of G protein signaling 14 (RGS14) is enriched in neurons in the hippocampus where the mRNA and protein are highly expressed. This brain region plays a major role in processing learning and forming new memories. RGS14 is an unusual RGS protein that acts as a multifunctional scaffolding protein to integrate signaling events and pathways essential for synaptic plasticity, including conventional and unconventional G protein signaling, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and, possibly, calcium signaling pathways. Within the hippocampus of primates and rodents, RGS14 is predominantly found in the enigmatic CA2 subfield. Principal neurons within the CA2 subfield differ from neighboring hippocampal regions in that they lack a capacity for long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission, which is widely viewed as the cellular substrate of learning and memory formation. RGS14 was recently identified as a natural suppressor of LTP in hippocampal CA2 neurons as well as forms of learning and memory that depend on the hippocampus. Although CA2 has only recently been studied, compelling recent evidence implicates area CA2 as a critical component of hippocampus circuitry with functional roles in mediating certain types of learning and memory. This review will highlight the known functions of RGS14 in cell signaling and hippocampus physiology, and discuss potential roles for RGS14 in human cognition and disease.
Keywords: CA2 hippocampus; Learning and memory; Long-term potentiation; RGS14; Synaptic plasticity.
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