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Glutamate transporter-dependent mTOR phosphorylation in Müller glia cells

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Author(s): Ana María López‑Colomé | Zila Martínez‑Lozada | Alain M Guillem | Edith López | Arturo Ortega

Journal: ASN Neuro
ISSN 1759-0914

Volume: 4;
Issue: 5;
Start page: e00095;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: excitatory amino acid | gene expression regulation | signalling

ABSTRACT
Glu (glutamate), the excitatory transmitter at the main signalling pathway in the retina, is critically involved in changes in the protein repertoire through the activation of signalling cascades, which regulate protein synthesis at transcriptional and translational levels. Activity-dependent differential gene expression by Glu is related to the activation of ionotropic and metabotropic Glu receptors; however, recent findings suggest the involvement of Na+-dependent Glu transporters in this process. Within the retina, Glu uptake is aimed at the replenishment of the releasable pool, and for the prevention of excitotoxicity and is carried mainly by the GLAST/EAAT-1 (Na+-dependent glutamate/aspartate transporter/excitatory amino acids transporter-1) located in Müller radial glia. Based on the previous work showing the alteration of GLAST expression induced by Glu, the present work investigates the involvement of GLAST signalling in the regulation of protein synthesis in Müller cells. To this end, we explored the effect of D-Asp (D-aspartate) on Ser-2448 mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) phosphorylation in primary cultures of chick Müller glia. The results showed that D-Asp transport induces the time- and dose-dependent phosphorylation of mTOR, mimicked by the transportable GLAST inhibitor THA (threo-β-hydroxyaspartate). Signalling leading to mTOR phosphorylation includes Ca2+ influx, the activation of p60src, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase B, mTOR and p70S6K. Interestingly, GLAST activity promoted AP-1 (activator protein-1) binding to DNA, supporting a function for transporter signalling in retinal long-term responses. These results add a novel receptor-independent pathway for Glu signalling in Müller glia, and further strengthen the critical involvement of these cells in the regulation of glutamatergic transmission in the retina.
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