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GABA(A)R, Alpha1 antibody


Antibody ID


Target Antigen

GABA(A)R Alpha1 null

Proper Citation

(UC Davis/NIH NeuroMab Facility Cat# 73-136, RRID:AB_10697873)


monoclonal antibody


Originating manufacturer of this product. Applications: IB, ICC, IHC, IP, KO, WB. Validation status: IF or IB (Pass), IB in brain (Pass), IHC in brain (Pass), KO (Pass).

Clone ID


Host Organism



UC Davis/NIH NeuroMab Facility Go To Vendor

Cat Num


GABAergic interneuronal loss and reduced inhibitory synaptic transmission in the hippocampal CA1 region after mild traumatic brain injury.

  • Almeida-Suhett CP
  • Exp. Neurol.
  • 2015 Nov 13

Literature context:


Patients that suffer mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) often develop cognitive impairments, including memory and learning deficits. The hippocampus shows a high susceptibility to mTBI-induced damage due to its anatomical localization and has been implicated in cognitive and neurological impairments after mTBI. However, it remains unknown whether mTBI cognitive impairments are a result of morphological and pathophysiological alterations occurring in the CA1 hippocampal region. We investigated whether mTBI induces morphological and pathophysiological alterations in the CA1 using the controlled cortical impact (CCI) model. Seven days after CCI, animals subjected to mTBI showed cognitive impairment in the passive avoidance test and deficits to long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission. Deficiencies in inducing or maintaining LTP were likely due to an observed reduction in the activation of NMDA but not AMPA receptors. Significant reductions in the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous and miniature GABAA-receptor mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were also observed 7 days after CCI. Design-based stereology revealed that although the total number of neurons was unaltered, the number of GABAergic interneurons is significantly reduced in the CA1 region 7 days after CCI. Additionally, the surface expression of α1, ß2/3, and γ2 subunits of the GABAA receptor were reduced, contributing to a reduced mIPSC frequency and amplitude, respectively. Together, these results suggest that mTBI causes a significant reduction in GABAergic inhibitory transmission and deficits to NMDA receptor mediated currents in the CA1, which may contribute to changes in hippocampal excitability and subsequent cognitive impairments after mTBI.

The parvalbumin-positive interneurons in the mouse dentate gyrus express GABAA receptor subunits α1, β2, and δ along their extrasynaptic cell membrane.

  • Milenkovic I
  • Neuroscience
  • 2013 Dec 19

Literature context:


Neuronal circuitries in the hippocampus are involved in navigation and memory and are controlled by major networks of GABAergic interneurons. Parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons in the dentate gyrus (DG) are identified as fast-spiking cells, playing a crucial role in network oscillation and synchrony. The inhibitory modulation of these interneurons is thought to be mediated mainly through GABAA receptors, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. Here we show that all PV-positive interneurons in the granular/subgranular layer (GL/SGL) of the mouse DG express high levels of the GABAA receptor δ subunit. PV-containing interneurons in the hilus and the molecular layer, however, express the δ subunit to a lower extent. Only 8% of the somatostatin-containing interneurons express the δ subunit, whereas calbindin- or calretinin-containing interneurons in the DG seem not to express the GABAA receptor δ subunit at all. Hence, these cells receive a GABAergic control different from that of PV-containing interneurons in the GL/SGL. Experiments investigating a possible co-expression of GABAA receptor α1, α2, α3, α4, α5, β1, β2, β3, or γ2 subunits with PV and δ subunits indicated that α1 and β2 subunits are co-expressed with δ subunits along the extrasynaptic membranes of PV-interneurons. These results suggest a robust tonic GABAergic control of PV-containing interneurons in the GL/SGL of the DG via δ subunit-containing receptors. Our data are important for better understanding of the neuronal circuitries in the DG and the role of specific cell types under pathological conditions.

Tau pathology induces loss of GABAergic interneurons leading to altered synaptic plasticity and behavioral impairments.

  • Levenga J
  • Acta Neuropathol Commun
  • 2013 Jul 11

Literature context:


BACKGROUND: Tau is a microtubule stabilizing protein and is mainly expressed in neurons. Tau aggregation into oligomers and tangles is considered an important pathological event in tauopathies, such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tauopathies are also associated with deficits in synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation (LTP), but the specific role of tau in the manifestation of these deficiencies is not well-understood. We examined long lasting forms of synaptic plasticity in JNPL3 (BL6) mice expressing mutant tau that is identified in some inherited FTDs. RESULTS: We found that aged (>12 months) JNPL3 (BL6) mice exhibit enhanced hippocampal late-phase (L-LTP), while young JNPL3 (BL6) mice (age 6 months) displayed normal L-LTP. This enhanced L-LTP in aged JNPL3 (BL6) mice was rescued with the GABAAR agonist, zolpidem, suggesting a loss of GABAergic function. Indeed, we found that mutant mice displayed a reduction in hippocampal GABAergic interneurons. Finally, we also found that expression of mutant tau led to severe sensorimotor-gating and hippocampus-dependent memory deficits in the aged JNPL3 (BL6) mice. CONCLUSIONS: We show for the first time that hippocampal GABAergic function is impaired by pathological tau protein, leading to altered synaptic plasticity and severe memory deficits. Increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the synaptic failure in AD and FTD is critical to identifying targets for therapies to restore cognitive deficiencies associated with tauopathies.

Down-regulation of gephyrin and GABAA receptor subunits during epileptogenesis in the CA1 region of hippocampus.

  • González MI
  • Epilepsia
  • 2013 Apr 4

Literature context:


PURPOSE: Epileptogenesis is the process by which a brain becomes hyperexcitable and capable of generating recurrent spontaneous seizures. In humans, it has been hypothesized that following a brain insult there are a number of molecular and cellular changes that underlie the development of spontaneous seizures. Studies in animal models have shown that an injured brain may develop epileptiform activity before appearance of epileptic seizures and that the pathophysiology accompanying spontaneous seizures is associated with a dysfunction of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurotransmission. Here, we analyzed the effects of status epilepticus on the expression of GABAA receptors (GABAA Rs) and scaffolding proteins involved in the regulation of GABAA R trafficking and anchoring. METHODS: Western blot analysis was used to determine the levels of proteins involved in GABAA R trafficking and anchoring in adult rats subjected to pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE) and controls. Cell surface biotinylation using a cell membrane-impermeable reagent was used to assay for changes in the expression of receptors at the plasma membrane. Finally, immunoprecipitation experiments were used to evaluate the composition of GABAA Rs. We examined for a correlation between total GABAA R subunit expression, plasma membrane expression, and receptor composition. KEY FINDINGS: Analysis of tissue samples from the CA1 region of hippocampus show that SE promotes a loss of GABAA R subunits and of the scaffolding proteins associated with them. We also found a decrease in the levels of receptors located at the plasma membrane and alterations in GABAA R composition. SIGNIFICANCE: The changes in protein expression of GABAA Rs and scaffolding proteins detected in these studies provide a potential mechanism to explain the deficits in GABAergic neurotransmission observed during the epileptogenic period. Our current observations represent an additional step toward the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying GABAA R dysfunction during epileptogenesis.

Funding information:
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council - BB/F01046X/1(United Kingdom)

Setting the time course of inhibitory synaptic currents by mixing multiple GABA(A) receptor α subunit isoforms.

  • Eyre MD
  • J. Neurosci.
  • 2012 Apr 25

Literature context:


The kinetics of IPSCs influence many neuronal processes, such as the frequencies of oscillations and the duration of shunting inhibition. The subunit composition of recombinant GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) strongly affects the deactivation kinetics of GABA-evoked currents. However, for GABAergic synapses, the relationship between subunit composition and IPSC decay is less clear. Here we addressed this by combining whole-cell recordings of miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) and quantitative immunolocalization of synaptic GABA(A)R subunits. In cerebellar stellate, thalamic relay, and main olfactory bulb (MOB) deep short-axon cells of Wistar rats, the only synaptic α subunit was α1, and zolpidem-sensitive mIPSCs had weighted decay time constants (τ(w)) of 4-6 ms. Nucleus reticularis thalami neurons expressed only α3 as the synaptic α subunit and exhibited slow (τ(w) = 28 ms), zolpidem-insensitive mIPSCs. By contrast, MOB external tufted cells contained two α subunit types (α1 and α3) at their synapses. Quantitative analysis of multiple immunolabeled images revealed small within-cell, but large between-cell, variability in synaptic α1/α3 ratios. This corresponded to large cell-to-cell variability in the decay (τ(w) = 3-30 ms) and zolpidem sensitivity of mIPSCs. Currents evoked by rapid application of GABA to patches excised from HEK cells expressing different mixtures of α1 and α3 subunits displayed highly variable deactivation times that correlated with the α1/α3 cDNA ratio. Our results demonstrate that diversity in the decay of IPSCs can be generated by varying the expression of different GABA(A)R subunits that alone confer different decay kinetics, allowing the time course of inhibition to be tuned to individual cellular requirements.

Funding information:
  • NHLBI NIH HHS - 1K25HL68704(United States)

Stabilization of GABA(A) receptors at endocytic zones is mediated by an AP2 binding motif within the GABA(A) receptor β3 subunit.

  • Smith KR
  • J. Neurosci.
  • 2012 Feb 15

Literature context:


The strength of synaptic inhibition can be controlled by the stability and endocytosis of surface and synaptic GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs), but the surface receptor dynamics that underpin GABA(A)R recruitment to dendritic endocytic zones (EZs) have not been investigated. Stabilization of GABA(A)Rs at EZs is likely to be regulated by receptor interactions with the clathrin-adaptor AP2, but the molecular determinants of these associations remain poorly understood. Moreover, although surface GABA(A)R downmodulation plays a key role in pathological disinhibition in conditions such as ischemia and epilepsy, whether this occurs in an AP2-dependent manner also remains unclear. Here we report the characterization of a novel motif containing three arginine residues (405RRR407) within the GABA(A)R β3-subunit intracellular domain (ICD), responsible for the interaction with AP2 and GABA(A)R internalization. When this motif is disrupted, binding to AP2 is abolished in vitro and in rat brain. Using single-particle tracking, we reveal that surface β3-subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs exhibit highly confined behavior at EZs, which is dependent on AP2 interactions via this motif. Reduced stabilization of mutant GABA(A)Rs at EZs correlates with their reduced endocytosis and increased steady-state levels at synapses. By imaging wild-type or mutant super-ecliptic pHluorin-tagged GABA(A)Rs in neurons, we also show that, under conditions of oxygen-glucose deprivation to mimic cerebral ischemia, GABA(A)Rs are depleted from synapses in dendrites, depending on the 405RRR407 motif. Thus, AP2 binding to an RRR motif in the GABA(A)R β3-subunit ICD regulates GABA(A)R residency time at EZs, steady-state synaptic receptor levels, and pathological loss of GABA(A)Rs from synapses during simulated ischemia.

Funding information:
  • NINDS NIH HHS - P01 NS-083514(United States)

The residence time of GABA(A)Rs at inhibitory synapses is determined by direct binding of the receptor α1 subunit to gephyrin.

  • Mukherjee J
  • J. Neurosci.
  • 2011 Oct 12

Literature context:


The majority of fast synaptic inhibition in the brain is mediated by benzodiazepine-sensitive α1-subunit-containing GABA type A receptors (GABA(A)Rs); however, our knowledge of the mechanisms neurons use to regulate their synaptic accumulation is rudimentary. Using immunoprecipitation, we demonstrate that GABA(A)Rs and gephyrin are intimately associated at inhibitory synapses in cultured rat neurons. In vitro we reveal that the E-domain of gephyrin directly binds to the α1 subunit with an affinity of ∼20 μm, mediated by residues 360-375 within the intracellular domain of this receptor subunit. Mutating residues 360-375 decreases both the accumulation of α1-containing GABA(A)Rs at gephyrin-positive inhibitory synapses in hippocampal neurons and the amplitude of mIPSCs. We also demonstrate that the affinity of gephyrin for the α1 subunit is modulated by Thr375, a putative phosphorylation site. Mutation of Thr375 to a phosphomimetic, negatively charged amino acid decreases both the affinity of the α1 subunit for gephyrin, and therefore receptor accumulation at synapses, and the amplitude of mIPSCs. Finally, single-particle tracking reveals that gephyrin reduces the diffusion of α1-subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs specifically at inhibitory synapses, thereby increasing their confinement at these structures. Our results suggest that the direct binding of gephyrin to residues 360-375 of the α1 subunit and its modulation are likely to be important determinants for the stabilization of GABA(A)Rs at synaptic sites, thereby modulating the strength of synaptic inhibition.

Funding information:
  • NHLBI NIH HHS - R01 HL129178(United States)

Single-synapse analysis of a diverse synapse population: proteomic imaging methods and markers.

  • Micheva KD
  • Neuron
  • 2010 Nov 18

Literature context:


A lack of methods for measuring the protein compositions of individual synapses in situ has so far hindered the exploration and exploitation of synapse molecular diversity. Here, we describe the use of array tomography, a new high-resolution proteomic imaging method, to determine the composition of glutamate and GABA synapses in somatosensory cortex of Line-H-YFP Thy-1 transgenic mice. We find that virtually all synapses are recognized by antibodies to the presynaptic phosphoprotein synapsin I, while antibodies to 16 other synaptic proteins discriminate among 4 subtypes of glutamatergic synapses and GABAergic synapses. Cell-specific YFP expression in the YFP-H mouse line allows synapses to be assigned to specific presynaptic and postsynaptic partners and reveals that a subpopulation of spines on layer 5 pyramidal cells receives both VGluT1-subtype glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic inputs. These results establish a means for the high-throughput acquisition of proteomic data from individual cortical synapses in situ.

Funding information:
  • NICHD NIH HHS - R01 HD046236-06(United States)