• AMPA receptor;
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • glutamate transporter;
  • PICK1;
  • serine racemase

M. C. Focant, S. Goursaud, C. Boucherie, A. O. Dumont and E. Hermans (2013) Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology39, 231–242

PICK1 expression in reactive astrocytes within the spinal cord of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) rats

Aims: The protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1), a PDZ domain-containing protein mainly expressed in the central nervous system, interacts with the glutamate receptor subunit GluR2, with the glutamate transporter GLT-1b and with the enzyme serine racemase. These three proteins appear as key actors in the glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in both patients and animal models of the disease. In this study, we examined the expression of PICK1 in the spinal cord of transgenic rats expressing a mutated form of the human superoxide dismutase 1 (hSOD1G93A) during the progression of the disease. Methods: Expression of PICK1 was examined by real-time qPCR at presymptomatic and symptomatic stages as well as at end-stage. The expression of PICK1 in the different cell types of the spinal cord was examined by immunohistochemistry. Results: The overall expression of PICK1 is not modified in cervical and lumbar spinal cord of transgenic (hSOD1G93A) rats during the progression of the disease. Nonetheless, immunohistochemical studies of lumbar ventral horns revealed a shift of PICK1 expression from motor neurones in healthy rats to activated astrocytes in end-stage hSOD1G93A animals. Conclusions: Considering the documented influence of PICK1 expression on d-serine release and glutamate transport in astrocytes, these findings point to a potential implication of PICK1 in the progression of ALS.