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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

alpha 2-Macroglobulin exposure reduces calcium responses to N-methyl-D-aspartate via low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein in cultured hippocampal neurons.

There is increasing evidence that the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein ( LRP) can function as a signaling link in the central nervous system. To investigate the pathophysiological role of LRP in the central nervous system, we examined the effects of activated alpha(2)-macroglobulin (alpha2M*), a ligand of LRP, on intracellular calcium signaling in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Neuronal effects of alpha2M* (50 nm) were assessed by a comparison of calcium signals produced in control and alpha2M*-pretreated neurons by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid. alpha2M* pretreatment significantly decreased the calcium signals to NMDA, whereas little change was observed for the signals to alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid. Native alpha2M, which is not a ligand for LRP, did not affect signals to NMDA. The receptor-associated protein prevented alpha2M*-induced decrease of calcium responses to NMDA, suggesting that alpha2M* exerted its effects through an LRP-mediated pathway. Experiments changing calcium sources demonstrated that alpha2M* pretreatment altered calcium responses to NMDA by primarily changing extracellular calcium influx and subsequently affecting calcium release from intracellular calcium stores. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that alpha2M* caused a reduction in the levels of the NMDA receptor subunit, NMDAR1. These results suggest that alpha2M* can alter the neuronal response to excitatory neurotransmitters and that alpha2M* pretreatment selectively reduced the calcium responses to NMDA by down-regulating the NMDA receptor.[1]


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