JOURNAL ARTICLE

Increased hippocampal expression of the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) mRNA variants 1B and +IRE and DMT1 protein after NMDA-receptor stimulation or spatial memory training

Paola Haeger, Alvaro Alvarez, Nancy Leal, Tatiana Adasme, Marco Tulio Núñez, Cecilia Hidalgo
Neurotoxicity Research 2010, 17 (3): 238-47
19655216
Iron is essential for crucial neuronal functions but is also highly toxic in excess. Neurons acquire iron through transferrin receptor-mediated endocytosis and via the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1). The N-terminus (1A, 1B) and C-terminus (+IRE, -IRE) splice variants of DMT1 originate four protein isoforms, all of which supply iron to cells. Diverse physiological or pathological conditions induce differential DMT1 variant expression, which are cell-type dependent. Hence, it becomes relevant to ascertain if activation of neuronal plasticity processes that require functional N-methyl D: -aspartate (NMDA) receptors, including in vitro stimulation of NMDA receptor-mediated signaling and spatial memory training, selectively modify DMT1 variant expression. Here, we report for the first time that brief (5 min) exposure of primary hippocampal cultures to NMDA (50 muM) increased 24 h later the expression of DMT1-1B and DMT1+IRE, but not of DMT1-IRE mRNA. In contrast, endogenous DMT1 mRNA levels remained unaffected following 6 h incubation with brain-derived nerve factor. NMDA (25-50 muM) also enhanced DMT1 protein expression 24-48 h later; this enhancement was abolished by the transcription inhibitor actinomycin D and by the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801, implicating NMDA receptors in de novo DMT1 expression. Additionally, spatial memory training enhanced DMT1-1B and DMT1+IRE expression and increased DMT1 protein content in rat hippocampus, where the exon1A variant was not found. These results suggest that NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity processes stimulate expression of the iron transporter DMT1-1B+IRE isoform, which presumably plays a significant role in hippocampal spatial memory formation.

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