The electrical activity of mammalian osmosensory neurons (ONs) is increased by plasma hypertonicity to command thirst, antidiuretic hormone release, and increased sympathetic tone during dehydration. Osmosensory transduction is a mechanical process whereby decreases in cell volume cause the activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1) channels to induce depolarization and increase spiking activity in ONs. However, it is not known how cell shrinking is mechanically coupled to channel activation. Using superresolution imaging, we found that ONs are endowed with a uniquely interweaved scaffold of microtubules throughout their somata. Microtubules physically interact with the C terminus of TRPV1 at the cell surface and provide a pushing force that drives channels activation during shrinking. Moreover, we found that changes in the density of these interactions can bidirectionally modulate osmosensory gain. Microtubules are thus an essential component of the vital neuronal mechanotransduction apparatus that allows the brain to monitor and correct body hydration.
Translational control plays a pivotal role in the regulation of the pluripotency network in embryonic stem cells, but its effect on reprogramming somatic cells to pluripotency has not been explored. Here, we show that eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binding proteins (4E-BPs), which are translational repressors, have a multifaceted effect on the reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Loss of 4E-BP expression attenuates the induction of iPSCs at least in part through increased translation of p21, a known inhibitor of somatic cell reprogramming. However, MEFs lacking both p53 and 4E-BPs show greatly enhanced reprogramming resulting from a combination of reduced p21 transcription and enhanced translation of endogenous mRNAs such as Sox2 and Myc and can be reprogrammed through the expression of only exogenous Oct4. Thus, 4E-BPs exert both positive and negative effects on reprogramming, highlighting the key role that translational control plays in regulating this process.
Some forms of synaptic plasticity require rapid, local activation of protein synthesis. Although this is thought to reflect recruitment of mRNAs to free ribosomes, this would limit the speed and magnitude of translational activation. Here we provide compelling in situ evidence supporting an alternative model in which synaptic mRNAs are transported as stably paused polyribosomes. Remarkably, we show that metabotropic glutamate receptor activation allows the synthesis of proteins that lead to a functional long-term depression phenotype even when translation initiation has been greatly reduced. Thus, neurons evolved a unique mechanism to swiftly translate synaptic mRNAs into functional protein upon synaptic signaling using stalled polyribosomes to bypass the rate-limiting step of translation initiation. Because dysregulated plasticity is implicated in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders such as fragile X syndrome, this work uncovers a unique translational target for therapies.
Protein synthesis is critical for circadian clock function, but little is known of how translational regulation controls the master pacemaker in mammals, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Here we demonstrate that the pivotal translational repressor, the eukaryotic translational initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), is rhythmically regulated via the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in the SCN and preferentially represses vasoactive intestinal peptide (Vip) mRNA translation. Knockout (KO) of Eif4ebp1 (gene encoding 4E-BP1) leads to upregulation of VIP and higher amplitude of molecular rhythms in the SCN. Consequently, the 4E-BP1 null mice exhibit accelerated re-entrainment to a shifted light/dark cycle and are more resistant to the rhythm-disruptive effects of constant light. Conversely, in Mtor(+/-) mice VIP expression is decreased and susceptibility to the effects of constant light is increased. These results reveal a key role for mTOR/4E-BP1-mediated translational control in regulating entrainment and synchrony of the master clock.
Translation control often operates via remodeling of messenger ribonucleoprotein particles. The poly(A) binding protein (PABP) simultaneously interacts with the 3 poly(A) tail of the mRNA and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) to stimulate translation. PABP also promotes miRNA-dependent deadenylation and translational repression of target mRNAs. We demonstrate that isoform 2 of the mouse heterogeneous nuclear protein Q (hnRNP-Q2/SYNCRIP) binds poly(A) by default when PABP binding is inhibited. In addition, hnRNP-Q2 competes with PABP for binding to poly(A) in vitro. Depleting hnRNP-Q2 from translation extracts stimulates cap-dependent and IRES-mediated translation that is dependent on the PABP/poly(A) complex. Adding recombinant hnRNP-Q2 to the extracts inhibited translation in a poly(A) tail-dependent manner. The displacement of PABP from the poly(A) tail by hnRNP-Q2 impaired the association of eIF4E with the 5 m(7)G cap structure of mRNA, resulting in the inhibition of 48S and 80S ribosome initiation complex formation. In mouse fibroblasts, silencing of hnRNP-Q2 stimulated translation. In addition, hnRNP-Q2 impeded let-7a miRNA-mediated deadenylation and repression of target mRNAs, which require PABP. Thus, by competing with PABP, hnRNP-Q2 plays important roles in the regulation of global translation and miRNA-mediated repression of specific mRNAs.
mTOR and ERR? are key regulators of common metabolic processes, including lipid homeostasis. However, it is currently unknown whether these factors cooperate in the control of metabolism. ChIP-sequencing analyses of mouse liver reveal that mTOR occupies regulatory regions of genes on a genome-wide scale including enrichment at genes shared with ERR? that are involved in the TCA cycle and lipid biosynthesis. Genetic ablation of ERR? and rapamycin treatment, alone or in combination, alter the expression of these genes and induce the accumulation of TCA metabolites. As a consequence, both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of ERR? activity exacerbates hepatic hyperlipidemia observed in rapamycin-treated mice. We further show that mTOR regulates ERR? activity through ubiquitin-mediated degradation via transcriptional control of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Our work expands the role of mTOR action in metabolism and highlights the existence of a potent mTOR/ERR? regulatory axis with significant clinical impact.
Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibitors are extensively used as immunosuppressants to prevent transplant rejection and in treatment of certain cancers. In patients, chronic treatment with rapamycin or its analogues (rapalogues) has been reported to lead to sensory hypersensitivity and pain conditions via an unknown mechanism. Here, we show that pharmacological or genetic inhibition of mTORC1 activates the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway in sensory neurons via suppression of S6K1 to insulin receptor substrate 1 negative feedback loop. As a result, increased ERK activity induces sensory neuron sensitization, mechanical hypersensitivity, and spontaneous pain. The clinically available adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase activator, metformin, which is an antidiabetic drug, prevents rapamycin-induced ERK activation and the development of mechanical hypersensitivity and spontaneous pain. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that activation of the ERK pathway in sensory neurons as a consequence of mTORC1 inhibition leads to the development of pain. Importantly, this effect is abolished by co-treatment with metformin, thus providing a potential treatment option for rapalogue-evoked pain. Our findings highlight the physiological relevance of feedback signaling through mTORC1 inhibition and have important implications for development of pain therapeutics that target the mTOR pathway.
Control of protein synthesis is critical for synaptic plasticity and memory formation. However, the molecular mechanisms linking neuronal activity to activation of mRNA translation are not fully understood. Here, we report that the translational repressor poly(A)-binding protein (PABP)-interacting protein 2A (PAIP2A), an inhibitor of PABP, is rapidly proteolyzed by calpains in stimulated neurons and following training for contextual memory. Paip2a knockout mice exhibit a lowered threshold for the induction of sustained long-term potentiation and an enhancement of long-term memory after weak training. Translation of CaMKII? mRNA is enhanced in Paip2a?/? slices upon tetanic stimulation and in the hippocampus of Paip2a?/? mice following contextual fear learning. We demonstrate that activity-dependent degradation of PAIP2A relieves translational inhibition of memory-related genes through PABP reactivation and conclude that PAIP2A is a pivotal translational regulator of synaptic plasticity and memory.
The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein-2 (4E-BP2) is a repressor of cap-dependent mRNA translation and a major downstream effector of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) implicated in hippocampal long-term synaptic plasticity and memory. Yet, synaptic mechanisms regulated by 4E-BP2 translational repression remain unknown. Combining knock-out mice, whole-cell recordings, spine analysis, and translation profiling, we found that 4E-BP2 deletion selectively upregulated synthesis of glutamate receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA2, facilitating AMPA receptor (AMPAR)-mediated synaptic transmission and affecting translation-dependent chemically induced late long-term potentiation (cL-LTP). In 4E-BP2 knock-out (4E-BP2(-/-)) mice, evoked and miniature EPSCs were increased, an effect mimicked by short-hairpin RNA knockdown of 4E-BP2 in wild-type mice, indicating that 4E-BP2 level regulates basal transmission at mature hippocampal AMPAR-containing synapses. Remarkably, in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice, the AMPA to NMDA receptor (NMDAR) EPSC ratio was increased, without affecting NMDAR-mediated EPSCs. The enhanced AMPAR function concurred with increased spine density and decreased length resulting from greater proportion of regular spines and less filopodia in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice. Polysome profiling revealed that translation of GluA1 and GluA2 subunits, but not GluN1 or GluN2A/B, was selectively increased in 4E-BP2(-/-) hippocampi, consistent with unaltered I-V relation of EPSCs mediated by GluA1/GluA2 heteromers. Finally, translation-dependent cL-LTP of unitary EPSCs was also affected in 4E-BP2(-/-) mice, lowering induction threshold and removing mTOR signaling requirement while impairing induction by normal stimulation. Thus, translational control through 4E-BP2 represents a unique mechanism for selective regulation of AMPAR synthesis, synaptic function, and long-term plasticity, important for hippocampal-dependent memory processes.
Phosphorylation of the ?-subunit of initiation factor 2 (eIF2) controls protein synthesis by a conserved mechanism. In metazoa, distinct stress conditions activate different eIF2? kinases (PERK, PKR, GCN2, and HRI) that converge on phosphorylating a unique serine in eIF2?. This collection of signaling pathways is termed the integrated stress response (ISR). eIF2? phosphorylation diminishes protein synthesis, while allowing preferential translation of some mRNAs. Starting with a cell-based screen for inhibitors of PERK signaling, we identified a small molecule, named ISRIB, that potently (IC50 = 5 nM) reverses the effects of eIF2? phosphorylation. ISRIB reduces the viability of cells subjected to PERK-activation by chronic endoplasmic reticulum stress. eIF2? phosphorylation is implicated in memory consolidation. Remarkably, ISRIB-treated mice display significant enhancement in spatial and fear-associated learning. Thus, memory consolidation is inherently limited by the ISR, and ISRIB releases this brake. As such, ISRIB promises to contribute to our understanding and treatment of cognitive disorders. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00498.001.
Neuropathic pain is a debilitating clinical condition with few efficacious treatments, warranting development of novel therapeutics. We hypothesized that dysregulated translation regulation pathways may underlie neuropathic pain. Peripheral nerve injury induced reorganization of translation machinery in the peripheral nervous system of rats and mice, including enhanced mTOR and ERK activity, increased phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK downstream targets, augmented eIF4F complex formation and enhanced nascent protein synthesis. The AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) activators, metformin and A769662, inhibited translation regulation signaling pathways, eIF4F complex formation, nascent protein synthesis in injured nerves and sodium channel-dependent excitability of sensory neurons resulting in a resolution of neuropathic allodynia. Therefore, injury-induced dysregulation of translation control underlies pathology leading to neuropathic pain and reveals AMPK as a novel therapeutic target for the potential treatment of neuropathic pain.
The assembly of functional junction between nerve cells and electronic sensing pads is a critical problem in the construction of effective neuroelectronic hybrid systems. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the ringlike Stable Protein 1 (Sp1) and its derivatives can be used to generate hydrophilic nanochannels in the plasma membrane of living cells. Since SP1-derivatives can be linked to both the plasma membrane, gold or silicon surfaces, they may serve to ohmically link between cells interior and electronic sensing devices.
Synaptic facilitation and post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) are believed to necessitate active regeneration of the release machinery and supply of synaptic vesicles to a ready-releasable site. The prevailing hypothesis assumes that synapsins play pivotal roles in these processes. Using a cholinergic synapse formed between cultured Aplysia neurons (B2 and MCn), we demonstrate here that the calcium-activated protease-calpain serves as a major regulating element in the cascade that links electrical activity, elevation of the free intracellular calcium concentration, and short-term synaptic enhancements such as facilitation and PTP. Our study revealed that calpain inhibitors (calpeptin and MG132) transform a facilitating synapse into a depressing one, and reduce its PTP by 80.6%. Inhibition of CaM kinases, PKA, and MAPK also reduced PTP at this synapse. When inhibitors of these kinases were applied together with calpeptin, tetanic stimuli led to synaptic depression. We concluded that at this synapse facilitation and PTP are mediated mainly by the calpain-dependent processes and to a smaller extent by the CaMKs/PKA/MAPK-dependent cascades.
Hyperconnectivity of neuronal circuits due to increased synaptic protein synthesis is thought to cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is strongly implicated in ASDs by means of upstream signalling; however, downstream regulatory mechanisms are ill-defined. Here we show that knockout of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 2 (4E-BP2)-an eIF4E repressor downstream of mTOR-or eIF4E overexpression leads to increased translation of neuroligins, which are postsynaptic proteins that are causally linked to ASDs. Mice that have the gene encoding 4E-BP2 (Eif4ebp2) knocked out exhibit an increased ratio of excitatory to inhibitory synaptic inputs and autistic-like behaviours (that is, social interaction deficits, altered communication and repetitive/stereotyped behaviours). Pharmacological inhibition of eIF4E activity or normalization of neuroligin 1, but not neuroligin 2, protein levels restores the normal excitation/inhibition ratio and rectifies the social behaviour deficits. Thus, translational control by eIF4E regulates the synthesis of neuroligins, maintaining the excitation-to-inhibition balance, and its dysregulation engenders ASD-like phenotypes.
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