Specific and behaviorally consequential astrocyte Gq GPCR signaling attenuation in vivo with iβARK

Neuron. 2021 Jul 21;109(14):2256-2274.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.05.023. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Astrocytes respond to neurotransmitters and neuromodulators using G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to mediate physiological responses. Despite their importance, there has been no method to genetically, specifically, and effectively attenuate astrocyte Gq GPCR pathways to explore consequences of this prevalent signaling mechanism in vivo. We report a 122-residue inhibitory peptide from β-adrenergic receptor kinase 1 (iβARK; and inactive D110A control) to attenuate astrocyte Gq GPCR signaling. iβARK significantly attenuated Gq GPCR Ca2+ signaling in brain slices and, in vivo, altered behavioral responses, spared other GPCR responses, and did not alter astrocyte spontaneous Ca2+ signals, morphology, electrophysiological properties, or gene expression in the striatum. Furthermore, brain-wide attenuation of astrocyte Gq GPCR signaling with iβARK using PHP.eB adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), when combined with c-Fos mapping, suggested nuclei-specific contributions to behavioral adaptation and spatial memory. iβARK extends the toolkit needed to explore functions of astrocyte Gq GPCR signaling within neural circuits in vivo.

Keywords: AAV; GPCR; Gq; astrocyte; behavior; behavioral adaptation; calcium; signaling; silencing; spatial memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • beta-Adrenergic Receptor Kinases / metabolism*


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • beta-Adrenergic Receptor Kinases
  • Calcium