Author(s): Alfonso J, Fernndez ME, Cooper B, Flugge G, Frasch AC
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Abstract Neuronal remodeling is a fundamental process by which the brain responds to environmental influences, e.g., during stress. In the hippocampus, chronic stress causes retraction of dendrites in CA3 pyramidal neurons. We have recently identified the glycoprotein M6a as a stress-responsive gene in the hippocampal formation. This gene is down-regulated in the hippocampus of both socially and physically stressed animals, and this effect can be reversed by antidepressant treatment. In the present work, we analyzed the biological function of the M6a protein. Immunohistochemistry showed that the M6a protein is abundant in all hippocampal subregions, and subcellular analysis in primary hippocampal neurons revealed its presence in membrane protrusions (filopodia/spines). Transfection experiments revealed that M6a overexpression induces neurite formation and increases filopodia density in hippocampal neurons. M6a knockdown with small interference RNA methodology showed that M6a low-expressing neurons display decreased filopodia number and a lower density of synaptophysin clusters. Taken together, our findings indicate that M6a plays an important role in neurite/filopodium outgrowth and synapse formation. Therefore, reduced M6a expression might be responsible for the morphological alterations found in the hippocampus of chronically stressed animals. Potential mechanisms that might explain the biological effects of M6a are discussed.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Data Mining in Genomics & Proteomics