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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Jan 6;417(1):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.11.075. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Induction of excitatory and inhibitory presynaptic differentiation by GluD1.

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Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.


The δ subfamily of ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits consists of GluD1 and GluD2. GluD2, which is selectively expressed in cerebellar Purkinje neurons, has been shown to contribute to the formation of synapses between granule neurons and Purkinje neurons through interaction with Cbln1 (cerebellin precursor protein1) and presynaptic Neurexin. On the other hand, the synaptogenic activity of GluD1, which is expressed not in the cerebellum but in the hippocampus, remains to be characterized. Here, we report that GluD1 expressed in non-neuronal HEK cells, induced presynaptic differentiation of granule neurons through its N-terminal domain in co-cultures with cerebellar neurons, similarly to GluD2. We also show that GluD1 rescued the defect of synapse formation in GluD2-knockout Purkinje neurons, indicating the functional similarity of GluD1 and GluD2. In contrast, GluD1 expression alone did not induce presynaptic differentiation in co-cultures of HEK cells with hippocampal neurons. However, when Cbln1 was exogenously added to the culture medium, GluD1 induced presynaptic differentiation of not only glutamatergic presynaptic terminals but also GABAergic ones. Cbln1 is not expressed in hippocampal neurons but is expressed in entorhinal cortical neurons projecting to the hippocampus. In co-cultures of HEK cells expressing GluD1 and entorhinal cortical neurons, both glutamatergic and GABAergic presynaptic terminals were formed on the HEK cells without exogenous application of Cbln1. These results suggest that GluD1 might contribute to the formation of specific synapses in the hippocampus such as those formed by the projecting neurons of the entorhinal cortex.

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