A recently reported rapid potentiation of NMDA receptors by Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRIs) via a Homer protein link is distinct from the classical, relatively slow inhibitory G-protein-associated signaling triggered by mGluRI activation. The relationship between these two mechanisms remains unknown. Here, we focused on the mGluRI-dependent modulation of NMDAR response in hippocampal dentate gyrus granule cells and cerebellar granule cells of C57BL6-J mice and found that these two contrasting mechanisms overlap competitively on the time scale from hundreds of milliseconds to seconds, with the net effect depending on the cell type. At a shorter time interval (units of millisecond), the Homer-mediated signal from mGluRIs prevails, causing upregulation of NMDAR function, in both dentate gyrus granule cells and cerebellar granule cells. Our results shed light on the possible mechanisms of anti-schizophrenia drugs that disrupt Homer-containing protein link.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Here we study modulation of NMDA receptors triggered by activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors Group I via two distinct pathways: classical G-protein signaling system and newly discovered high-speed modulatory mechanism associated with Homer-protein-containing direct molecular link. We found that these two contrasting mechanisms overlap competitively on the time scale from hundreds of milliseconds to seconds, with the net effect depending on the cell type. We have also found that both crosstalk mechanisms cause significant changes in synaptic strength and plasticity. Our results resolve an apparent discrepancy between earlier studies that demonstrated contradictive effects of Homer-containing protein link disruption on NMDA receptor signaling. On top of that, our data provide a plausible explanation for unclear action mechanisms of anti-schizophrenia drugs.
Keywords: Homer protein; NMDA receptors; cerebellar granule cells; dentate gyrus granule cells; inter-receptor crosstalk; metabotropic glutamate receptors.
Copyright © 2018 O'Neill et al.