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Axon-terminals expressing EAAT2 (GLT-1; Slc1a2) are common in the forebrain and not limited to the hippocampus.

Neurochemistry international (2018-03-14)
Yun Zhou, Bjørnar Hassel, Tore Eid, Niels Christian Danbolt
ABSTRACT

The excitatory amino acid transporter type 2 (EAAT2) represents the major mechanism for removal of extracellular glutamate. In the hippocampus, there is some EAAT2 in axon-terminals, whereas most of the protein is found in astroglia. The functional importance of the neuronal EAAT2 is unknown, and it is debated whether EAAT2-expressing nerve terminals are present in other parts of the brain. Here we selectively deleted the EAAT2 gene in neurons (by crossing EAAT2-flox mice with synapsin 1-Cre mice in the C57B6 background). To reduce interference from astroglial EAAT2, we measured glutamate accumulation in crude tissue homogenates. EAAT2 proteins levels were measured by immunoblotting. Although synapsin 1-Cre mediated gene deletion only reduced the forebrain tissue content of EAAT2 protein to 95.5 ± 3.4% of wild-type (littermate) controls, the glutamate accumulation in homogenates of neocortex, hippocampus, striatum and thalamus were nevertheless diminished to, respectively, 54 ± 4, 46 ± 3, 46 ± 2 and 65 ± 7% of controls (average ± SEM, n = 3 pairs of littermates). GABA uptake was unaffected. After injection of U-13C-glucose, lack of neuronal EAAT2 resulted in higher 13C-labeling of glutamine and GABA in the hippocampus suggesting that neuronal EAAT2 is partly short-circuiting the glutamate-glutamine cycle in wild-type mice. Crossing synapsin 1-Cre mice with Ai9 reporter mice revealed that Cre-mediated excision occurred efficiently in hippocampus CA3, but less efficiently in other regions and hardly at all in the cerebellum. Conclusions: (1) EAAT2 is expressed in nerve terminals in multiple brain regions. (2) The uptake catalyzed by neuronal EAAT2 plays a role in glutamate metabolism, at least in the hippocampus. (3) Synapsin 1-Cre does not delete floxed genes in all neurons, and the contribution of neuronal EAAT2 is therefore likely to be larger than revealed in the present study.

MATERIALS
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