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Mol Psychiatry. 2017 Jan;22(1):89-101. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.12. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

mTORC1-dependent translation of collapsin response mediator protein-2 drives neuroadaptations underlying excessive alcohol-drinking behaviors.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) has an essential role in dendritic mRNA translation and participates in mechanisms underlying alcohol-drinking and reconsolidation of alcohol-related memories. Here, we report that excessive alcohol consumption increases the translation of downstream targets of mTORC1, including collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2), in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of rodents. We show that alcohol-mediated induction of CRMP-2 translation is mTORC1-dependent, leading to increased CRMP-2 protein levels. Furthermore, we demonstrate that alcohol intake also blocks glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β)-phosphorylation of CRMP-2, which results in elevated binding of CRMP-2 to microtubules and a concomitant increase in microtubule content. Finally, we show that systemic administration of the CRMP-2 inhibitor lacosamide, or knockdown of CRMP-2 in the NAc decreases excessive alcohol intake. These results suggest that CRMP-2 in the NAc is a convergent point that receives inputs from two signaling pathways, mTORC1 and GSK-3β, that in turn drives excessive alcohol-drinking behaviors.

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