University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Heparin-binding growth-associated molecule (HB-GAM) in activity-dependent neuronal plasticity in hippocampus
Doctoral dissertation, March 2006.
Cell adhesion and extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules play a significant role in neuronal plasticity both during development and in the adult. Plastic changes in which ECM components are implicated may underlie important nervous system functions, such as memory formation and learning. Heparin-binding growthassociated molecule (HB-GAM, also known as pleiotrophin), is an ECM protein involved in neurite outgrowth, axonal guidance and synaptogenesis during perinatal period. In the adult brain HB-GAM expression is restricted to the regions which display pronounced synaptic plasticity (e.g., hippocampal CA3-CA1 areas, cerebral cortex laminae II-IV, olfactory bulb). Expression of HB-GAM is regulated in an activity-dependent manner and is also induced in response to neuronal injury.
In this work mutant mice were used to study the in vivo function of HB-GAM and its receptor syndecan-3 in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and in hippocampus-dependent behavioral tasks. Phenotypic analysis of HBGAM null mutants and mice overexpressing HB-GAM revealed that opposite genetic manipulations result in reverse changes in synaptic plasticity as well as behavior in the mutants. Electrophysiological recordings showed that mice lacking HB-GAM have an increased level of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the area CA1 of hippocampus and impaired spatial learning, whereas animals with enhanced level of HB-GAM expression have attenuated LTP, but outperformed their wild-type controls in spatial learning. It was also found that GABA(A) receptor-mediated synaptic transmission is altered in the transgenic mice overexpressing HB-GAM. The results suggest that these animals have accentuated hippocampal GABAergic inhibition, which may contribute to the altered glutamatergic synaptic plasticity.
Structural studies of HB-GAM demonstrated that this protein belongs to the thrombospondin type I repeat (TSR) superfamily and contains two β-sheet domains connected by a flexible linker. It was found that didomain structure is necessary for biological activity of HB-GAM and electrophysiological phenotype displayed by the HB-GAM mutants. The individual domains displayed weaker binding to heparan sulfate and failed to promote neurite outgrowth as well as affect hippocampal LTP.
Effects of HB-GAM on hippocampal synaptic plasticity are believed to be mediated by one of its (co-)receptor molecules, namely syndecan-3. In support of that, HB-GAM did not attenuate LTP in mice deficient in syndecan-3 as it did in wild-type controls. In addition, syndecan-3 knockout mice displayed electrophysiological and behavioral phenotype similar to that of HB-GAM knockouts (i.e. enhanced LTP and impaired learning in Morris water-maze). Thus HB-GAM and syndecan-3 are important modulators of synaptic plasticity in hippocampus and play a role in regulation of learning-related behavior.
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© University of Helsinki 2006
Last updated 21.03.2006