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Brain Res Bull. 2007 Jul 12;73(4-6):210-9. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Regulation of ErbB-4 endocytosis by neuregulin in GABAergic hippocampal interneurons.

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  • 1Section on Molecular Neurobiology, NICHD, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Neuregulin (NRG)/ErbB receptor signaling pathways have recently been implicated in the reversal of long-term potentiation at hippocampal glutamatergic synapses. Moreover, polymorphisms in NRG-1 and ErbB-4 genes have been linked to an increased risk for developing schizophrenia. ErbB-4 is highly expressed at glutamatergic synapses where it binds to PSD-95 via its carboxyl terminal T-V-V sequence. Here we investigated the expression, localization and trafficking of ErbB-4 in cultured hippocampal neurons by immunocytochemistry, surface protein biotinylation, and live labeling of native receptors. We show that neuronal ErbB-4 is detected at its highest levels in GABAergic interneurons, as observed in vivo. ErbB-4 immunoreactivity precedes PSD-95 expression, with ErbB-4 cluster initially forming in the absence of, but later associating with, PSD-95-positive puncta. By surface protein biotinylation, the fraction of ErbB-4 receptors on the plasma membrane increases from 30% to 65% between 6 and 16 days in vitro (DIV). Interestingly, 30 min of NRG stimulation triggers measurable ErbB-4 receptor internalization at DIV 16, despite increased colocalization with PSD-95. We also investigated the role of TNFalpha-converting enzyme (TACE)-mediated receptor processing in regulating ErbB-4 surface expression. We found that the cleavage-resistant JM-b isoform accounts for 80% of all ErbB-4 transcripts in cultured hippocampal neurons. Receptor stimulation or treatment with phorbol esters does not induce detectable ErbB-4 processing, indicating that neurons mostly rely on endocytosis of the intact receptor to regulate ErbB-4 surface expression. These results enhance our understanding of the regulation of ErbB-4--mediated signaling at glutamatergic synapses.

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