Abnormal metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activity could cause brain disorders; however, its regulation has not yet been fully understood. Here, we report that protein kinase N1 (PKN1), a protein kinase expressed predominantly in neurons in the brain, normalizes group 1 mGluR function by upregulating a neuronal glutamate transporter, excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3), and supports silent synapse activation. Knocking out PKN1a, the dominant PKN1 subtype in the brain, unmasked abnormal input-nonspecific mGluR-dependent long-term depression (mGluR-LTD) and AMPA receptor (AMPAR) silencing in the developing hippocampus. mGluR-LTD was mimicked by inhibiting glutamate transporters in wild-type mice. Knocking out PKN1a decreased hippocampal EAAT3 expression and PKN1 inhibition reduced glutamate uptake through EAAT3. Also, synaptic transmission was immature; there were more silent synapses and fewer spines with shorter postsynaptic densities in PKN1a knockout mice than in wild-type mice. Thus, PKN1 plays a critical role in regulation of synaptic maturation by upregulating EAAT3 expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)