Stress can be a motivational force for decisive action and adapting to novel environment; whereas, exposure to chronic stress contributes to the development of depression and anxiety. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying stress-responsive behaviors are not fully understood. Here, we identified the orphan receptor GPR158 as a novel regulator operating in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that links chronic stress to depression. GPR158 is highly upregulated in the PFC of human subjects with major depressive disorder. Exposure of mice to chronic stress also increased GPR158 protein levels in the PFC in a glucocorticoid-dependent manner. Viral overexpression of GPR158 in the PFC induced depressive-like behaviors. In contrast GPR158 ablation, led to a prominent antidepressant-like phenotype and stress resiliency. We found that GPR158 exerts its effects via modulating synaptic strength altering AMPA receptor activity. Taken together, our findings identify a new player in mood regulation and introduce a pharmacological target for managing depression.
Keywords: GPCR signaling; depression; human; mouse; neuroscience; orphan receptors; stress.
© 2018, Sutton et al.