Gangliosides are major cell-surface determinants on all vertebrate neurons. Human congenital disorders of ganglioside biosynthesis invariably result in intellectual disability and are often associated with intractable seizures. To probe the mechanisms of ganglioside functions, affinity-captured ganglioside-binding proteins from rat cerebellar granule neurons were identified by quantitative proteomic mass spectrometry. Of the six proteins that bound selectively to the major brain ganglioside GT1b (GT1b:GM1 > 4; p < 10−4), three regulate neurotransmitter receptor trafficking: Thorase (ATPase family AAA domain-containing protein 1), soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein (γ-SNAP), and the transmembrane protein Nicalin. Thorase facilitates endocytosis of GluR2 subunit-containing AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) in an ATPase-dependent manner; its deletion in mice results in learning and memory deficits (J. Zhang et al., 2011b). GluR2-containing AMPARs did not bind GT1b, but bound specifically to another ganglioside, GM1. Addition of noncleavable ATP (ATPγS) significantly disrupted ganglioside binding, whereas it enhanced AMPAR association with Thorase, NSF, and Nicalin. Mutant mice lacking GT1b expressed markedly higher brain Thorase, whereas Thorase-null mice expressed higher GT1b. Treatment of cultured hippocampal neurons with sialidase, which cleaves GT1b (and other sialoglycans), resulted in a significant reduction in the size of surface GluR2 puncta. These data support a model in which GM1-bound GluR2-containing AMPARs are functionally segregated from GT1b-bound AMPAR-trafficking complexes. Release of ganglioside binding may enhance GluR2-containing AMPAR association with its trafficking complexes, increasing endocytosis. Disrupting ganglioside biosynthesis may result in reduced synaptic expression of GluR2-contianing AMPARs resulting in intellectual deficits and seizure susceptibility in mice and humans.
- AMPA receptor
- N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas