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J Neurosci. 2006 Oct 11;26(41):10488-98.

Chemokine fractalkine/CX3CL1 negatively modulates active glutamatergic synapses in rat hippocampal neurons.

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Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti and Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e Farmacologia, Università La Sapienza, Centro di Eccellenza BEMM, 00185 Roma, Italy.


We examined the effects of the chemokine fractalkine (CX3CL1) on EPSCs evoked by electrical stimulation of Schaffer collaterals in patch-clamped CA1 pyramidal neurons from rat hippocampal slices. Acute application of CX3CL1 caused a sustained reduction of EPSC amplitude, with partial recovery after washout. CX3CL1-induced EPSC depression is postsynaptic in nature, because paired-pulse ratio was maintained, amplitude distribution of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents shifted to lower values, and whole-cell current responses to AMPA were reversibly inhibited. EPSC depression by CX3CL1 is mediated by CX3CL1 receptor (CX3CR1), because CX3CL1 was unable to influence EPSC amplitude in CA1 pyramidal neurons from CX3CR1 knock-out mice. CX3CL1-induced depression of both EPSC and AMPA current was not observed in the absence of afferent fiber stimulation or AMPA receptor activation, respectively, indicating the requirement of sustained receptor activity for its development. Findings obtained from hippocampal slices, cultured hippocampal neurons, and transfected human embryonic kidney cells indicate that a Ca2+-, cAMP-, and phosphatase-dependent process is likely to modulate CX3CL1 effects because of the following: (1) CX3CL1-induced depression was antagonized by intracellular BAPTA, 8Br-cAMP, phosphatase inhibitors, and pertussis toxin (PTX); (2) CX3CL1 inhibited forskolin-induced cAMP formation sensitive to PTX; and (3) CX3CL1 inhibited forskolin-induced Ser845 GluR1 phosphorylation, which was sensitive to PTX and dependent on Ca2+ and phosphatase activity. Together, these findings indicate that CX3CL1 negatively modulates AMPA receptor function at active glutamatergic synapses through cell-signaling pathways by influencing the balance between kinase and phosphatase activity.

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