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J Neurochem. 2019 Sep 20. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14874. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of the presence and absence of amino acids on translation, signaling and long-term depression in hippocampal slices from Fmr1 knockout mice.

Author information

1
Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, United States.
2
Section on Synapse Development and Plasticity, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, United States.

Abstract

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is caused by silencing of the FMR1 gene and consequent absence of its protein product, fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). FMRP is an RNA-binding protein that can suppress translation. The absence of FMRP leads to symptoms of FXS including intellectual disability and has been proposed to lead to abnormalities in synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity, protein synthesis and cellular growth pathways have been studied extensively in hippocampal slices from a mouse model of FXS (Fmr1 KO). Enhanced metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)-dependent long-term depression (LTD), increased rates of protein synthesis, and effects on signaling molecules have been reported. These phenotypes were found under amino acid starvation, a condition that has widespread, powerful effects on activation and translation of proteins involved in regulating protein synthesis. We asked if this nonphysiological condition could have effects on Fmr1 KO phenotypes reported in hippocampal slices. We performed hippocampal slice experiments in the presence and absence of amino acids. We measured rates of incorporation of a radiolabeled amino acid into protein to determine protein synthesis rates. By means of Western blots, we assessed relative levels of total and phosphorylated forms of proteins involved in signaling pathways regulating translation. We measured evoked field potentials in area CA1 to assess the strength of the long-term depression response to mGluR activation. In the absence of amino acids, we replicate many of the reported findings in Fmr1 KO hippocampal slices, but in the more physiological condition of inclusion of amino acids in the medium, we did not find evidence of enhanced mGluR5-dependent LTD. Activation of mGluR5 increased protein synthesis in both wild type and Fmr1 KO. Moreover, mGluR5-activation increased eIF2α phosphorylation and decreased phosphorylation of p70S6k in slices from Fmr1 KO. We propose that the eIF2α response is a cellular attempt to compensate for the lack of regulation of translation by FMRP. Our findings call for a re-examination of the mGluR theory of FXS.

KEYWORDS:

eIF2αμtranslation rate; fragile X syndrome; hippocampal slice; long term depression; protein synthesis

PMID:
31539452
DOI:
10.1111/jnc.14874

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