Rem2-targeted shRNAs reduce frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents without altering voltage-gated Ca²⁺ currents.
Ca²⁺ influx through voltage-gated Ca²⁺ channels (VGCCs) plays important roles in neuronal cell development and function. Rem2 is a member of the RGK (Rad, Rem, Rem2, Gem/Kir) subfamily of small GTPases that confers potent inhibition upon VGCCs. The physiologic roles of RGK proteins, particularly in the brain, are poorly understood. Rem2 was implicated in synaptogenesis through an RNAi screen and proposed to regulate Ca²⁺ homeostasis in neurons. To test this hypothesis and uncover physiological roles for Rem2 in the brain, we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which Rem2 knockdown affected synaptogenesis and Ca²⁺ homeostasis in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Expression of a cocktail of shRNAs targeting rat Rem2 (rRem2) reduced the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) measured 10 d after transfection (14 d in vitro), but did not affect mEPSC amplitude. VGCC current amplitude after rRem2-targeted knockdown was not different from that in control cells, however, at either 4 or 10 d post transfection. Co-expression of a human Rem2 that was insensitive to the shRNAs targeting rRem2 was unable to prevent the reduction in mEPSC frequency after rRem2-targeted knockdown. Over-expression of rRem2 resulted in 50% reduction in VGCC current, but neither the mEPSC frequency nor amplitude was affected. Taken together, the observed effects upon synaptogenesis after shRNA treatment are more likely due to mechanisms other than modulation of VGCCs and Ca²⁺ homeostasis, and may be independent of Rem2. In addition, our results reveal a surprising lack of contribution of VGCCs to synaptogenesis during early development in cultured hippocampal neurons.
Wang, H-G; Wang, C; Pitt, GS
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