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Keywords:

  • hippocampus;
  • Homer1 knockout mice;
  • molecular switch;
  • ERK;
  • mTOR

ABSTRACT

Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1/5) play a role in synaptic plasticity and they demonstrate direct interactions with the neuronal Homer1c protein. We have previously shown that Homer1c can restore the plasticity deficits in Homer1 knockout mice (H1-KO). Here, we investigated the role of Homer1c in mGluR-dependent synaptic plasticity in wild-type mice, H1-KO, and H1-KO mice overexpressing Homer1c (KO+H1c). We used a form of plasticity induced by activation of mGluR1/5 that transforms short-term potentiaion (STP) induced by a subthreshold theta burst stimulation into long-term potentiation (LTP). We have shown that although acute hippocampal slices from wild-type animals can induce LTP using this stimulation protocol, H1-KO only show STP. Gene delivery of Homer1c into the hippocampus of H1-KO mice rescued LTP to wild-type levels. This form of synaptic plasticity was dependent on mGluR5 but not mGluR1 activation both in wild-type mice and in KO+H1c. mGluR1/5-dependent LTP was blocked with inhibitors of the MEK-ERK and PI3K-mTOR pathways in KO+H1c mice. Moreover, blocking Homer1c–mGluR5 interactions prevented the maintenance of LTP in acute hippocampal slices from KO+H1c. These data indicate that Homer1c–mGluR5 interactions are necessary for mGluR-dependent LTP, and that mGluR1/5-dependent LTP involves PI3K and ERK activation. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.