We have previously shown the possible involvement of mitochondrial membrane potential disruption in the mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity seen after activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NMDAR) in primary cultured rat hippocampal neurons. In this study, we attempted to demonstrate a pivotal role of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) as a determinant of the NMDA neurotoxicity by using acquired NMDAR channels artificially orchestrated in HEK293 cells. In cells with overexpression of UCP2, immunoreactive UCP2 was exclusively detected at intracellular locations stained with the mitochondrial marker MitoTracker. In cells with acquired NMDAR channels, exposure to either NMDA or the calcium ionophore A23187 similarly led to a significant increase in cytosolic Ca2+ levels determined by Fluo-3 imaging irrespective of the overexpression of UCP2. By contrast, NMDA, but not A23187, was significantly more effective in increasing mitochondrial Ca2+ levels determined by Rhod-2 fluorescence imaging in cells transfected with NMDAR subunit and UCP2 expression vectors than in those without UCP2 overexpression. Overexpression of UCP2 significantly increased the number of cells stained with propidium iodide in cultures with acquired NMDAR channels, but failed to significantly affect that in cells exposed to A23187. Immunocytochemical and immunoprecipitation analyses similarly revealed the possible interaction between GluN1 subunit and UCP2 in HEK293 cells with acquired NMDAR channels and UCP2 overexpression. These results suggest that UCP2 could play a role as a determinant of the neurotoxicity mediated by NMDAR through a mechanism related to the unidentified interaction with the essential GluN1 subunit toward modulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ levels in neurons.
- GluN1 subunit
- NMDA neurotoxicity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology