Background: AMPA- (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid), kainate-, and NMDA- (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors are the three main families of ionotropic glutamate-gated ion channels. AMPA receptors (AMPARs) are composed of four subunits (GluA1-4), which assemble as homo- or hetero-tetramers to mediate the majority of fast excitatory transmissions in the central nervous system. AMPARs are implicated in synapse formation, stabilization, and plasticity (1). In contrast to GluA2-containing AMPARs, AMPARs that lack GluA2 are permeable to calcium (2). Post-transcriptional modifications (alternative splicing, nuclear RNA editing) and post-translational modifications (glycosylation, phosphorylation) result in a very large number of permutations, fine-tuning the kinetic properties and surface expression of AMPARs representing key pathways to mediate synaptic plasticity (3). During development and mature states, some synapses exhibit “silent synapses” that lack functional AMPAR-mediated transmission. Synapses become “unsilenced” by post-translational modification of GluAs, particularly GluA1, which alters its kinetic properties and/or surface expression while other synaptic components, such as other glutamate receptors like NMDARs and postsynaptic scaffolding proteins like PSD95, remain unaltered. Conversely, reducing the AMPAR kinetic properties and surface expression can silence synapses. Key post-translational modifications implicated in regulating these processes include phosphorylation of GluA1 at Ser831 and Ser845 (4). Research studies have implicated activity-dependent changes in AMPARs in a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, and epilepsy (1).
Background: Microglia cells are resident macrophages of the brain that survey the brain environment and dynamically respond to maintain brain homeostasis. Microglial responses include phagocytosis of cellular debris, restricting sites injury or pathology, and/or releasing inflammatory signals to initiate an immune response. Such responses are important during normal development and during diseased states (1).Recently, the role of microglia in neurodegenerative disease pathology, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has been of intense investigation. Much of this work is driven by human genetic data that links microglia-enriched genes with AD progression (2). The triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) protein is an innate immune receptor that is expressed on the cell surface of microglia (3). TREM2 plays a role in innate immunity, and a rare functional variant (R47H) of the TREM2 gene is associated with the late-onset risk of AD (3,4). How TREM2 contributes to disease function is currently an active area of research (4,5), but might drive a number of microglial cellular functions ranging from microgliosis, phagocytosis, and cytokine release via a variety of signaling cascades triggered by TREM2.The TREM2 receptor is a single-pass type I membrane glycoprotein that consists of an extracellular immunoglobulin-like domain, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic tail. Ligands for TREM2 include phospholipids, apolipoproteins, and lipoproteins. Upon activation, TREM2 interacts with the tyrosine kinase-binding protein DNAX-activating protein 12 (DAP12, TYROBP) to form a receptor-signaling complex (6). Ligand binding by DAP12-associated receptors, including TREM2, results in phosphorylation of tyrosine residues within the DAP12 immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) by Src family kinases; ITAM phosphorylation leads to activation of spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) and downstream signaling cascades (7). Tyr525 and Tyr526 are located in the activation loop of the Syk kinase domain and phosphorylation at these residues (equivalent to Tyr519/520 of mouse Syk) is essential for Syk function (8). Syk phosphorylation is also a readout for β-amyloid triggered TREM2 activity (9). Phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C γ 1/2 (PLCγ1/2) is reported to be down stream of Syk (10). Tyr352 of Syk is involved in the association of PLCγ1 (11); Syk-mediated phosphorylation PLCγ1 at Tyr783 activates PLCγ1 enzymatic activity (12). Interestingly, mutations in the microglia-enriched PLCγ2 gene are associated with AD (13,14,15).
Background: Syk is a protein tyrosine kinase that plays an important role in intracellular signal transduction in hematopoietic cells (1-3). Syk interacts with immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs) located in the cytoplasmic domains of immune receptors (4). It couples the activated immunoreceptors to downstream signaling events that mediate diverse cellular responses, including proliferation, differentiation, and phagocytosis (4). There is also evidence of a role for Syk in nonimmune cells and investigators have indicated that Syk is a potential tumor suppressor in human breast carcinomas (5). Tyr323 is a negative regulatory phosphorylation site within the SH2-kinase linker region in Syk. Phosphorylation at Tyr323 provides a direct binding site for the TKB domain of Cbl (6,7). Tyr352 of Syk is involved in the association of PLCγ1 (8). Tyr525 and Tyr526 are located in the activation loop of the Syk kinase domain; phosphorylation at Tyr525/526 of human Syk (equivalent to Tyr519/520 of mouse Syk) is essential for Syk function (9).
Background: Phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (PLC) plays a significant role in transmembrane signaling. In response to extracellular stimuli such as hormones, growth factors, and neurotransmitters, PLC hydrolyzes phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) to generate two secondary messengers: inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) and diacylglycerol (DAG) (1). At least four families of PLCs have been identified: PLCβ, PLCγ, PLCδ, and PLCε. Phosphorylation is one of the key mechanisms that regulate the activity of PLC. PLCγ is activated by both receptor and non-receptor tyrosine kinases (2). PLCγ forms a complex with EGF and PDGF receptors, which leads to the phosphorylation of PLCγ at Tyr771, 783, and 1248 (3). Phosphorylation by Syk at Tyr783 activates the enzymatic activity of PLCγ1 (4). PLCγ2 is engaged in antigen-dependent signaling in B cells and collagen-dependent signaling in platelets. Phosphorylation by Btk or Lck at Tyr753, 759, 1197, and 1217 is correlated with PLCγ2 activity (5,6).
Background: Distinct microglial activation states have been identified using RNA-seq data from a vast array of neurological disease and aging models. These activation states have been categorized into modules corresponding to proliferation, neurodegeneration, interferon-relation, LPS-relation, and many others (1). Previous work identifying markers of specific brain cell types using RNA-seq has shown HS1 and ASC/TMS1 to be useful and specific tools to study microglia (2). HS1 is a protein kinase substrate that is expressed only in tissues and cells of hematopoietic origin (3) and ASC/TMS1 has been found to be a critical component of inflammatory signaling where it associates with and activates caspase-1 in response to pro-inflammatory signals (4).