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J Neurochem. 2002 Jul;82(2):216-23.

Native group-III metabotropic glutamate receptors are coupled to the mitogen-activated protein kinase/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathways.

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Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


We used cultured cerebellar granule cells to examine whether native group-III metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors are coupled to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI-3-K) pathways. Cultured granule cells responded to the group-III mGlu receptor agonist, L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutanoate (l-AP4), with an increased phosphorylation and activity of MAPKs (ERK-1 and -2) and an increased phosphorylation of the PI-3-K target, protein kinase B (PKB/AKT). These effects were attenuated by the group-III antagonists, alpha-methyl-serine-O -phosphate (MSOP) and (R,S )-alpha-cyclopropyl-4-phosphonophenylglycine (CPPG), or by pretreatment of the cultures with pertussis toxin. l-AP4 also induced the nuclear translocation of beta-catenin, a downstream effector of the PI-3-K pathway. To assess the functional relevance of these mechanisms we examined the ability of l-AP4 to protect granule cells against apoptosis by trophic deprivation, induced by lowering extracellular K(+) from 25 to 10 mm. Neuroprotection by l-AP4 was attenuated by MSOP and abrogated by the compounds PD98059 and UO126, which inhibit the MAPK pathway, or by the compound LY294002, which inhibits the PI-3-K pathway. Taken together, these results show for the first time that native group-III mGlu receptors are coupled to MAPK and PI-3-K, and that activation of both pathways is necessary for neuroprotection mediated by this particular class of receptors.

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