Glutamate regulates Oct-2 DNA-binding activity through α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptors in cultured chick Bergmann glia cells


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Arturo Ortega, Departamento de Genética y Biología Molecular, Cinvestav-IPN, Apartado Postal 14-740, México DF 07000, México.


Ionotropic glutamate receptors in cerebellar Bergmann glial cells are linked to transcriptional regulation and, by these means, are thought to play an important role in plasticity, learning and memory and in several neuropathologies. Within the CNS, the transcription factors of the POU family bind their target DNA sequences after a growth factor-dependent phosphorylation–dephosphorylation cascade. Exposure of cultured Bergmann glial cells to glutamate leads to a time- and dose-dependent increase in Oct-2 DNA-binding activity. The use of specific pharmacological tools established the involvement of Ca2+-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptors. Furthermore, the signaling cascade includes phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase as well as protein kinase C activation. Interestingly, transcriptional as well as translational inhibitors abolish the glutamate effect, suggesting a transcriptional up-regulation of the oct-2 gene. These data demonstrate that Oct-2 expression is not restricted to neurons and further strengthen the notion that the glial glutamate receptors participate in the modulation of glutamatergic cerebellar neurotransmission.