Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Team explains how mutated X-linked mental retardation protein impairs neuron function

25.06.2014

There are new clues about malfunctions in brain cells that contribute to intellectual disability and possibly other developmental brain disorders.

Professor Linda Van Aelst of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has been scrutinizing how the normal version of a protein called OPHN1 helps enable excitatory nerve transmission in the brain, particularly at nerve-cell docking ports containing AMPA receptors (AMPARs).


False color image of a mouse hippocampal neuron (cell body is at lower right) with branchlike dendrites that provide surfaces at which projections from other neurons can connect, by forming synapses. Van Aelst and colleagues have shown that when the OPHN1 protein is mutated, interfering with its ability to interact with another protein called Homer1b/c, AMPA receptors don't recycle to the surface at synapses at the rate they normally do. This adversely impacts synaptic plasticity, the process by which neurons adjust the strength of their connections. Such pathology may play a role in X-linked mental retardation.

Credit: Van Aelst Laboratory, CSHL

Her team's new work, published June 24 in the Journal of Neuroscience, provides new mechanistic insight into how OPHN1 defects can lead to impairments in the maturation and adjustment of synaptic strength of AMPAR-expressing neurons, which are ubiquitous in the brain and respond to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.

Mutations in a gene called oligophrenin-1 (OPHN1) – located on the X chromosome – have previously been linked to X-linked intellectual disability (also known as X-linked mental retardation), a condition that affects boys disproportionately and could account for as much as one-fifth of all intellectual disability among males.

Several different mutations in the OPHN1 gene have been identified to date, all of which perturb nerve cells' manufacture of OPHN1 protein. Previously, Van Aelst and colleagues demonstrated that OPHN1 has a vital role in synaptic plasticity, the process through which adjacent nerve cells adjust the strength of their connections. Cells in the brain are constantly adjusting connection strength as they respond to streams of stimuli.

The new discovery shows how OPHN1 is involved in the trafficking of AMPARs, an essential feature of plasticity in neurons. Neurons move receptors away from synapses into their interior and then back to the surface of synapses to control connection strength. At the synaptic surface, receptors provide an opportunity for the docking of neurotransmitters, in this case glutamate molecules. After a cell has fired, surface receptors are typically brought back into the interior, where they are recycled for future use.

When OPHN1 is misshapen or missing due to genetic mutation, the CSHL team demonstrated, it can no longer properly perform its role in receptor recycling, thus also impairing neurons' ability to maintain strong long-term connections with their neighbors, called long-term potentiation.

Van Aelst's new experiments explain how OPHN1 in complex with another protein called Homer1b/c should normally interact with an area called the endocytic zone (EZ) to provide a pool of AMPARs to be brought to the synapse at a location called the post-synaptic density (PSD). When OPHN1 is mutated, the pool does not form and receptors needed for strengthening synapses are not available. Long-term potentiation is impaired.

"This suggests a previously unknown way in which genetic defects in OPHN1 can lead to dysfunctions in the glutamate system," says Dr. Van Aelst. "Our earlier studies had already shown that OPHN1 is essential in stabilizing AMPA receptors at the synapse. Together, these two essential roles suggest how defective OPHN1 protein may contribute to pathology that underlies X-linked intellectual disability."

###

The research described in this release was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants RO1-MH082808 and RO1-NS082266.

"The X-linked Mental Retardation Protein OPHN1 Interacts with Homer1b/c to Control Spine Endocytic Zone Positioning and Expression of Synaptic Potentiation" appears online ahead of print in

The Journal of Neuroscience on June 25, 2014. The authors are:

Akiko Nakano-Kobayashi, Yilin Tai, Nael Nadif Kasri, and Linda Van Aelst. The paper can be obtained at: http://www.jneurosci.org

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. CSHL is ranked number one in the world by Thomson Reuters for the impact of its research in molecular biology and genetics. The Laboratory has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners. Today, CSHL's multidisciplinary scientific community is more than 600 researchers and technicians strong and its Meetings & Courses program hosts more than 12,000 scientists from around the world each year to its Long Island campus and its China center. For more information, visit http://www.cshl.edu

Peter Tarr | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: AMPA CSHL Harbor Neuroscience X-linked disability docking function glutamate neurons retardation synapses synaptic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>