Neural plasticity

Diacylglycerol signaling underlies astrocytic ATP release.

PMID 21826278


Astrocytes have the ability to modulate neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission by the release of gliotransmitters. The importance of ATP released downstream of the activation of Gq-coupled receptors has been well established, but the mechanisms by which this release is regulated are unclear. The current work reveals that the elevation of diacylglycerol (DAG) in astrocytes induces vesicular ATP release. Unexpectedly, DAG-induced ATP release was found to be independent of PKC activation, but dependent upon activation of a C1 domain-containing protein. Astrocytes express the C1 domain-containing protein Munc13-1, which has been implicated in neuronal transmitter release, and RNAi-targeted downregulation of Munc13-1 inhibits astrocytic ATP release. These studies demonstrate that elevations of DAG induce the exocytotic release of ATP in astrocytes, likely via a Munc13-1-dependent mechanism.