• presynaptic receptor signalling;
  • PKA;
  • rat


The modulation of calcium channels by metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) is a key event in the fine-tuning of neurotransmitter release. Here we report that, in hippocampal nerve terminals from adult rats, the inhibition of glutamate release by the group III mGluR agonist L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (L-AP4) is largely mediated by mGluR7. In this preparation, P/Q-type Ca2+ channels support the major component of glutamate release while the remaining release is supported by N-type Ca2+ channels. The release associated with P/Q channels was modulated by mGluR7, either in the presence of ω-conotoxin-GVIA or after decreasing the extracellular Ca2+ concentration [Ca2+]o to abolish the contribution of N-type Ca2+ channels. Under these conditions, L-AP4 (1 mm) reduced the evoked glutamate release by 35 ± 2%. This inhibition was largely prevented by pertussis toxin, but it was insensitive to inhibitors of protein kinase C (bisindolylmaleimide) and protein kinase A (H-89). Furthermore, this inhibition was associated with a reduction in the Ca2+ influx mediated by P/Q channels in the absence of any detectable change in cAMP levels. However, L-AP4 decreased the levels of cAMP in the presence of forskolin. The activation of this additional signalling pathway was very efficient in counteracting the facilitation of glutamate release induced by forskolin. Thus, mGluR7 mediates the inhibition of glutamate release at hippocampal nerve terminals primarily by inhibiting P/Q-type Ca2+ channels, although augmenting the levels of cAMP reveals the ability of the receptor to decrease cAMP.