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Published October 1, 2002 | Published
Journal Article Open

Group I Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Signaling via Gαq/Gα11 Secures the Induction of Long-Term Potentiation in the Hippocampal Area CA1


Heterotromeric G-proteins of the Gq family are thought to transduce signals from group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in central neurons. We investigated roles of this cascade in hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) by using null-mutant mice lacking the α subunit of Gq (Gαq) or G11 (Gα11). We found no obvious abnormalities in the morphology, layer structure, expression of NMDA receptors, and basic parameters of excitatory synaptic transmission in the hippocampus of Gαq mutant mice. We used theta burst stimulation (TBS) (3–10 burst trains at 5 Hz; each train consisted of five stimuli at 100 Hz) to induce LTP at Schaffer collateral to CA1 pyramidal cell synapses. Conventional TBS with 10 burst trains induced robust LTP in wild-type, Gαq mutant, and Gα11 mutant mice. Weak TBS with three burst trains consistently induced LTP in wild-type mice. In contrast, the same weak TBS was insufficient to induce LTP in Gαq and Gα11 mutant mice. In wild-type mice, the LTP by weak TBS was abolished by inhibiting group I mGluR or protein kinase C (PKC) but not by blocking muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Prior activation of group I mGluR by an agonist significantly enhanced the LTP by weak TBS in wild-type mice. However, this priming effect was absent in Gαq mutant mice. These results indicate that the signaling from group I mGluR to PKC involving Gαq/Gα11 does not constitute the main pathway for LTP, but it secures LTP induction by lowering its threshold in the hippocampal area CA1.

Additional Information

© 2002 Society for Neuroscience. Received March 8, 2002; revised July 9, 2002; accepted July 12, 2002. This work was supported in part by grants-in-aid for Scientific Research (M.M., M.W., and M.K.) and Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology (M.W. and M.K.) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan and by grants from the Novartis Foundation (M.K.) and the Cell Science Research Foundation (M.K.).

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