Nogo-A Modulates the Synaptic Excitation of Hippocampal Neurons in a Ca2+-Dependent Manner
A tight regulation of the balance between inhibitory and excitatory synaptic transmission is a prerequisite for synaptic plasticity in neuronal networks. In this context, the neurite growth inhibitor membrane protein Nogo-A modulates synaptic plasticity, strength, and neurotransmitter receptor dynamics. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these actions are unknown. We show that Nogo-A loss-of-function in primary mouse hippocampal cultures by application of a function-blocking antibody leads to higher excitation following a decrease in GABAARs at inhibitory and an increase in the GluA1, but not GluA2 AMPAR subunit at excitatory synapses. This unbalanced regulation of AMPAR subunits results in the incorporation of Ca2+-permeable GluA2-lacking AMPARs and increased intracellular Ca2+ levels due to a higher Ca2+ influx without affecting its release from the internal stores. Increased neuronal activation upon Nogo-A loss-of-function prompts the phosphorylation of the transcription factor CREB and the expression of c-Fos. These results contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of the excitation/inhibition balance and thereby of plasticity in the brain.