The essence of neuronal function is to generate outputs in response to synaptic potentials. Synaptic integration at postsynaptic sites determines neuronal outputs in the CNS. Using immunohistochemical and electrophysiological approaches, we first reveal that steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus express P2X4 subunits that are activated by exogenous ATP. Increased membrane expression of P2X4 channels by using a peptide competing with P2X4 intracellular endocytosis motif enhances neuronal excitability of SF-1 GFP-positive neurons. This increased excitability is inhibited by a P2X receptor antagonist. Furthermore, increased surface P2X4 receptor expression significantly decreases the frequency and the amplitude of GABAergic postsynaptic currents of SF-1 GFP-positive neurons. Co-immunopurification and pulldown assays reveal that P2X4 receptors complex with aminobutyric acid, type A (GABA(A)) receptors and demonstrate that two amino acids in the carboxyl tail of the P2X4 subunit are crucial for its physical association with GABA(A) receptors. Mutation of these two residues prevents the physical association, thereby blocking cross-inhibition between P2X4 and GABA(A) receptors. Moreover, disruption of the physical coupling using competitive peptides containing the identified motif abolishes current inhibition between P2X4 and GABA(A) receptors in recombinant system and P2X4 receptor-mediated GABAergic depression in SF-1 GFP-positive neurons. Our present work thus provides evidence for cross-talk between excitatory and inhibitory receptors that appears to be crucial in determining GABAergic synaptic strength at a central synapse.
Pubmed ID: 21482824 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Amino Acid Motifs | Animals | Mice | Mice, Transgenic | Protein Structure, Tertiary | Rats | Receptors, GABA-A | Receptors, Purinergic P2X4 | Steroidogenic Factor 1 | Synapses | Xenopus laevis
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