GluA1 subunit ubiquitination mediates amyloid-β-induced loss of surface α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors

Sumasri Guntupalli, Se Eun Jang, Tianyi Zhu, Richard L. Huganir, Jocelyn Widagdo, Victor Anggono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The accumulation of soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides produces profound neuronal changes in the brain during the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Excessive levels of Aβ disrupt excitatory synaptic transmission by promoting the removal of synaptic AMPA receptors (AMPARs), dendritic spine loss, and synaptic depression. Recently, activity-dependent ubiquitination of the GluA1 subunit has been shown to regulate the intracellular sorting of AMPARs toward late endosomes for degradation. However, whether this ubiquitin signaling pathway mediates Aβ-induced loss of surface AMPARs is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that acute exposure of cultured neurons to soluble Aβ oligomers induces AMPAR ubiquitination concomitant with the removal of AMPARs from the plasma membrane. Importantly, expression of the GluA1 ubiquitin-deficient mutants inhibited the adverse effects of Aβ on the surface expression of AMPARs in neurons. Furthermore, we revealed the cross-talk between GluA1 ubiquitination and phosphorylation, in particular phosphorylation at Ser-845, which is crucial for AMPAR recycling and is known to be dephosphorylated in the presence of Aβ. Our data showed that the GluA1 ubiquitindeficient mutant enhances GluA1 phosphorylation on Ser-845. Conversely, the GluA1 S845D phosphomimetic mutant reduced binding with Nedd4-1 and hence the ubiquitination of AMPARs. Importantly, the GluA1 S845D mutant also prevented Aβ-induced removal of surface AMPARs. Taken together, these findings provide the first demonstration of the dynamic cross-modulation of GluA1 ubiquitination and phosphorylation, a process that is perturbed by Aβ, in regulating the membrane sorting decision that ultimately determines the number of AMPARs on the cell surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8186-8194
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 19 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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