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Keywords:

  • GLAST;
  • protein kinase δ;
  • rottlerin;
  • sodium-dependent glutamate transport

Abstract

Protein kinase C (PKC) regulates the activity and/or cell surface expression of several different neurotransmitter transporters, including subtypes of glutamate transporters. In the present study, the effects of pharmacological inhibitors of PKC were studied in primary astrocyte cultures that express the glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) subtype of glutamate transporter. We found that general inhibitors of PKC, bisindolylmaleimide I (Bis I), bisindolylmaleimide II (Bis II), staurosporine and an inhibitor of classical PKCs, Gö6976, had no effect on Na+-dependent glutamate transport activity. However, rottlerin, a putative specific inhibitor of PKCδ, decreased transport activity with an IC50 value (less than 10 µm) that is comparable to that reported for inhibition of PKCδ. The effect of rottlerin was very rapid (maximal effect within 5 min) and was due to a decrease in the capacity (Vmax) for transport. Rottlerin also caused a drastic loss of GLAST immunoreactivity within 5 min, suggesting that rottlerin accelerates GLAST degradation/proteolysis. Rottlerin had no effect on cell surface or total expression of the transferrin receptor, providing evidence that the effect on GLAST cannot be attributed to a non-specific internalization/degradation of plasma membrane proteins. Down-regulation of PKCδ with chronic phorbol ester treatment did not block rottlerin-mediated inhibition of transport activity. These results suggest a novel mechanism for regulation of the GLAST subtype of glutamate transporter and indicate that there is a rottlerin target that is capable of controlling the levels of GLAST by controlling the rate of degradation or limited proteolysis. It appears that the target for rottlerin may not be PKCδ.