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Glia. 2013 Dec;61(12):1959-75. doi: 10.1002/glia.22566. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

Upregulation of glutamate transporter GLT-1 by mTOR-Akt-NF-кB cascade in astrocytic oxygen-glucose deprivation.

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Department of Neurobiology, Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology of Ministry of Health of China, Zhejiang Province Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China; Department of Neurology, Second Clinical College, North Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong, Sichuan, People's Republic of China.


Excessive extracellular glutamate leads to neuronal death in central nervous system. Excitatory glutamate transporter subtype 2 (GLT-1) carries bulk of glutamate reuptake in cerebral ischemia. Although GLT-1 expression fluctuates during the period of ischemia, little is known about its regulatory mechanism. Here we show an up-regulation of GLT-1 via mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-Akt-nuclear factor-кB (NF-кB) signaling cascade in oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD). We found that brief rapamycin treatment significantly increased GLT-1 expression in cultured astrocytes. Rapamycin increased phosphorylation of raptor at Ser792 and decreased phosphorylation of rictor at Thr1135, suggesting that both mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) are involved in GLT-1 expression. This conclusion was further confirmed by raptor and rictor disruption experiments. Akt was activated by mTORC1 inhibition and required for GLT-1 expression because triciribine, a specific inhibitor of Akt, blocked the increase of GLT-1 expression. mTOR-Akt cascade then activated NF-кB and increased кB-motif-binding phosphoprotein (KBBP) expression and GLT-1 transcription. We next demonstrated that mTOR-Akt-NF-кB cascade was activated in OGD and subsequently caused the upregulation of GLT-1. Supporting evidence included: (1) inhibition of Akt or NF-кB occluded OGD-induced GLT-1 upregulation; (2) Raptor knock-down plus OGD did not add to the increase of GLT-1 expression; (3) Intact mTORC2 was required for GLT-1 enhancement. In summary, our data first showed that mTOR-Akt-NF-кB cascade played critical roles to up-regulate GLT-1 in OGD. This signaling cascade may work to promote glutamate uptake in brain ischemia and neurodegenerative diseases.


Akt; GLT-1; NF-кB; astrocyte; mTOR

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