Activation of group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) induces long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission that relies on dendritic protein synthesis. We investigated the signal transduction pathways required for mGluR-LTD to identify candidate mechanisms for mGluR regulation of synaptic protein synthesis. Our results demonstrate a role for extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), a subclass of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), in mGluR-LTD in area CA1 of the rat hippocampus. Inhibitors of the upstream kinase of ERK, MAP/ERK kinase significantly reduce mGluR-LTD induced by the group 1 agonist dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) and synaptic stimulation but do not affect NMDA receptor-dependent LTD. In contrast, inhibitors of p38 MAPK were ineffective against DHPG-induced LTD. Consistent with the role of ERK in mGluR-LTD, we observed that DHPG treatment of hippocampal slices (isolated CA1), at concentrations that induce LTD, results in a robust phosphorylation of ERK but not of p38 MAPK. These results point to ERK as an important regulator of mGluR-LTD and a potential mechanism for mGluR regulation of synaptic protein synthesis.
- Long-term depression
- Metabotropic glutamate receptor
- p38 MAPK
ASJC Scopus subject areas