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Cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase and D1 dopamine receptors regulate diacylglycerol lipase-α and synaptic 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signaling


Shonesy BCBrian C , Stephenson JRJason R , Marks CRChristian R , Colbran RJRoger J . Journal of neurochemistry. 2020 03 05; 153(3). 334-345


Brain endocannabinoids serve as retrograde neurotransmitters, being synthesized in post-synaptic neurons “on demand” and released to bind pre-synaptic cannabinoid receptors and suppress glutamatergic or GABAergic transmission. The most abundant brain endocannabinoid, 2 arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), is primarily synthesized by diacylglycerol lipase-α (DGLα), which is activated by poorly understood mechanisms in response to calcium influx following post-synaptic depolarization and/or the activation of G -coupled group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors. However, the impact of other neurotransmitters and their downstream signaling pathways on synaptic 2-AG signaling has not been intensively studied. Here, we found that DGLα activity in membrane fractions from transfected HEK293T cells was significantly increased by in vitro phosphorylation using cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Moreover, PKA directly phosphorylated DGLα at Ser798 in vitro. Elevation of cAMP levels in HEK293 cells expressing DGLα increased Ser798 phosphorylation, as detected using a phospho-Ser798-specific antibody, and enhanced DGLα activity; this in situ enhancement of DGLα activity was prevented by mutation of Ser798 to Ala. We investigated the impact of PKA on synaptic 2-AG mobilization in mouse striatal slices by manipulating D1-dopamine receptor (D1R) signaling and assessing depolarization-induced suppression of excitation, a DGLα- and 2-AG-dependent form of short-term synaptic depression. The magnitude of depolarization-enhanced suppression of excitation in direct pathway medium spiny neurons was increased by pre-incubation with a D1R agonist, and this enhancement was blocked by post-synaptic inhibition of PKA. Taken together, these findings provide new molecular insights into the complex mechanisms regulating synaptic endocannabinoid signaling.