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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Feb 17;101(7):2191-6. Epub 2004 Feb 9.

Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 regulates dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmission in the striatum.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Dopaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmissions in the striatum play an essential role in motor- and reward-related behaviors. Dysfunction of these neurotransmitter systems has been found in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and drug addiction. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) negatively regulates postsynaptic signaling of dopamine in the striatum. This kinase also reduces the behavioral effects of cocaine. Here we demonstrate that, in addition to a postsynaptic role, CDK5 negatively regulates dopamine release in the striatum. Inhibitors of CDK5 increase evoked dopamine release in a way that is additive to that of cocaine. This presynaptic action of CDK5 also regulates glutamatergic transmission. Indeed, inhibition of CDK5 increases the activity and phosphorylation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors, and these effects are reduced by a dopamine D1 receptor antagonist. Using mice with a point mutation of the CDK5 site of the postsynaptic protein DARPP-32 (dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, molecular mass of 32 kDa), in the absence or in the presence of a dopamine D1 receptor antagonist, we provide evidence that CDK5 inhibitors potentiate dopaminergic transmission at both presynaptic and postsynaptic locations. These findings, together with the known ability of CDK5 inhibitors to prevent degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, suggest that this class of compounds could potentially be used as a novel treatment for disorders associated with dopamine deficiency, such as Parkinson's disease.

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