Journal of neurochemistry

The regulation of M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor desensitization by synaptic activity in cultured hippocampal neurons.

PMID 17908240


To better understand metabotropic/ionotropic integration in neurons we have examined the regulation of M1 muscarinic acetylcholine (mACh) receptor signalling in mature (> 14 days in vitro), synaptically-active hippocampal neurons in culture. Using a protocol where neurons are exposed to an EC(50) concentration of the muscarinic agonist methacholine (MCh) prior to (R1), and following (R2) a desensitizing pulse of a high concentration of this agonist, we have found that the reduction in M(1) mACh receptor responsiveness is decreased in quiescent (+tetrodotoxin) neurons and increased when synaptic activity is enhanced by blocking GABA(A) receptors with picrotoxin. The picrotoxin-mediated effect on M1 mACh receptor responsiveness was completely prevented by alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor blockade. Inhibition of endogenous G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 by transfection with the non-G(q/11)alpha-binding, catalytically-inactive (D110A,K220R)G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 mutant, decreased the extent of M1 mACh receptor desensitization under all conditions. Pharmacological inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) activity, or chronic phorbol ester-induced PKC down-regulation had no effect on agonist-mediated receptor desensitization in quiescent or spontaneously synaptically active neurons, but significantly decreased the extent of receptor desensitization in picrotoxin-treated neurons. MCh stimulated the translocation of diacylglycerol- sensitive eGFP-PKCepsilon, but not Ca2+/diacylglycerol-sensitive eGFP-PKCbetaII in both the absence, and presence of tetrodotoxin. Under these conditions, MCh-stimulated eGFP-myristoylated, alanine-rich C kinase substrate translocation was dependent on PKC activity, but not Ca2+/calmodulin. In contrast, picrotoxin-driven translocation of myristoylated, alanine-rich C kinase substrate was accompanied by translocation of PKCbetaII, but not PKCepsilon, and was dependent on PKC and Ca2+/calmodulin. Taken together these data suggest that the level of synaptic activity may determine the different kinases recruited to regulate M1 mACh receptor desensitization in neurons.