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J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 8;288(10):7105-16. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.410944. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Neuronal exosomal miRNA-dependent translational regulation of astroglial glutamate transporter GLT1.

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1
Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

Abstract

Perisynaptic astrocytes express important glutamate transporters, especially excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2, rodent analog GLT1) to regulate extracellular glutamate levels and modulate synaptic activation. In this study, we investigated an exciting new pathway, the exosome-mediated transfer of microRNA (in particular, miR-124a), in neuron-to-astrocyte signaling. Exosomes isolated from neuron-conditioned medium contain abundant microRNAs and small RNAs. These exosomes can be directly internalized into astrocytes and increase astrocyte miR-124a and GLT1 protein levels. Direct miR-124a transfection also significantly and selectively increases protein (but not mRNA) expression levels of GLT1 in cultured astrocytes. Consistent with our in vitro findings, intrastriatal injection of specific antisense against miR-124a into adult mice dramatically reduces GLT1 protein expression and glutamate uptake levels in striatum without reducing GLT1 mRNA levels. MiR-124a-mediated regulation of GLT1 expression appears to be indirect and is not mediated by its suppression of the putative GLT1 inhibitory ligand ephrinA3. Moreover, miR-124a is selectively reduced in the spinal cord tissue of end-stage SOD1 G93A mice, the mouse model of ALS. Subsequent exogenous delivery of miR-124a in vivo through stereotaxic injection significantly prevents further pathological loss of GLT1 proteins, as determined by GLT1 immunoreactivity in SOD1 G93A mice. Together, our study characterized a new neuron-to-astrocyte communication pathway and identified miRNAs that modulate GLT1 protein expression in astrocytes in vitro and in vivo.

PMID:
23364798
PMCID:
PMC3591620
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M112.410944
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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