AMPA receptor activation induces association of G-beta protein with the alpha subunit of the sodium channel in neurons


: Dr Joël Prémont, 1INSERM U114, as above.


Glutamatergic transmission is mediated by ionotropic receptors that directly gate cationic channels and metabotropic receptors that are coupled to second messenger generating systems and to ionic channels via heterotrimeric guanine-nucleotide binding- (G) proteins. This distinction cannot be made for the ionotropic receptor subclass activated by α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA), which has been shown to be physically associated with the α-subunit of Gi1 protein and activates this G-protein. Here, we report that, in addition to a Ca2+ influx, AMPA induces the mobilization of Ca2+ from the mitochondrial pool by reversing the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in mouse neurons in primary culture. Both processes required the activation of tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na+ channels. AMPA receptor activation modified the gating properties of the Na+ channel, independently of the AMPA current, suggesting a G-protein-mediated process. Indeed, co-immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that AMPA receptor activation induced the association of Gβ with the α-subunit of the Na+ channel. These results suggest that, in addition to its ionic channel function, the AMPA receptor is coupled to Na+ channels through G-proteins and that this novel metabotropic function is involved in the control of neuronal excitability.