Get access

Diacylglycerol kinase β accumulates on the perisynaptic site of medium spiny neurons in the striatum


Dr Y. Hozumi and Dr K. Goto, as above.
E-mail: and


Following activation of Gq protein-coupled receptors, phospholipase C yields a pair of second messengers, i.e. diacylglycerol (DAG) and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. The former activates protein kinase C and the latter mobilizes Ca2+ from intracellular store. DAG kinase (DGK) then phosphorylates DAG to produce another second messenger (phosphatidic acid). Of 10 mammalian DGK isozymes, DGKβ is expressed in dopaminergic projection fields with the highest level in the striatum and its particular splice variant is differentially expressed in patients with bipolar disorder. To gain molecular anatomical evidence for its signaling role, we investigated the cellular expression and subcellular localization of DGKβ in the striatum of rat brain. DGKβ was expressed in medium spiny neurons constituting the striatonigral and striatopallidal pathways, whereas striatal interneurons were below the detection threshold. DGKβ was distributed in somatodendritic elements of medium spiny neurons and localized in association with the smooth endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane or in the narrow cytoplasmic space between them. In particular, DGKβ exhibited dense accumulation at perisynaptic sites on dendritic spines forming asymmetrical synapses. The characteristic anatomical localization was consistent with exclusive enrichment of DGKβ in the microsomal and postsynaptic density fractions. Intriguingly, DGKβ was very similar in immunohistochemical and immunochemical distribution to Gq-coupled receptors, such as metabotropic glutamate receptors 1 and 5, and also to other downstream molecules involving DAG metabolism, such as phospholipase C β and DAG lipase. These findings suggest that abundant DGKβ is provided to perisynaptic sites of medium spiny neurons so that it can effectively produce phosphatidic acid upon activation of Gq-coupled receptors and modulate the cellular state of striatal output neurons.

Get access to the full text of this article