Differential negative coupling of type 3 metabotropic glutamate receptor to cyclic GMP levels in neurons and astrocytes


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Joseph H. Neale, PhD, Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA. E-mail: nealej@georgetown.edu


Metabotropic receptors may couple to different G proteins in different cells or perhaps even in different regions of the same cell. To date, direct studies of group II and group III metabotropic glutamate receptors' (mGluRs) relationships to second messenger cascades have reported negative coupling of these receptors to cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels in neurons, astrocytes and transfected cells. In the present study, we found that the peptide neurotransmitter N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), an mGluR3-selective agonist, decreased sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-stimulated cyclic GMP (cGMP) levels in cerebellar granule cells and cerebellar astrocytes. The mGluR3 and group II agonists FN6 and LY354740 had similar effects on cGMP levels. The mGluR3 and group II antagonists β-NAAG and LY341495 blocked these actions. Treatment with pertussis toxin inhibited the effects of NAAG on SNP-stimulated cGMP levels in rat cerebellar astrocytes but not in cerebellar neurons. These data support the conclusion that mGluR3 is also coupled to cGMP levels and that this mGluR3-induced reduction of cGMP levels is mediated by different G proteins in cerebellar astrocytes and neurons. We previously reported that this receptor is coupled to a cAMP cascade via a pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein in cerebellar neurons, astrocytes and transfected cells. Taken together with the present data, we propose that mGluR3 is coupled to two different G proteins in granule cell neurons. These data greatly expand knowledge of the range of second messenger cascades induced by mGluR3, and have implications for clinical conditions affected by NAAG and other group II mGluR agonists.