The Sushi Domains of Secreted GABA(B1) Isoforms Selectively Impair GABA(B) Heteroreceptor Function

Jim Y. Tiao, Amyaouch Bradaia, Barbara Biermann, Klemens Kaupmann, Michaela Metz, Corinne Haller, Antonius G. Rolink, Elin Pless, Paul N. Barlow, Martin Gassmann, Bernhard Bettler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

GABA(B) receptors are the G-protein-coupled receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAB(A)), the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA(B) receptors are promising drug targets for a wide spectrum of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Receptor subtypes exhibit no pharmacological differences and are based on the subunit isoforms GABA(B1a) and GABA(B1b). GABA(B1a) differs from GABA(B1b) in its ectodomain by the presence of a pair of conserved protein binding motifs, the sushi domains (SDs). Previous work showed that selectively GABA(B1a) contributes to heteroreceptors at glutamatergic terminals, whereas both GABA(B1a) and GABA(B1b) contribute to autoreceptors at GABAergic terminals or to postsynaptic receptors. Here, we describe GABA(B1j), a secreted GABA(B1) isoform comprising the two SDs. We show that the two SDs, when expressed as a soluble protein, bind to neuronal membranes with low nanomolar affinity. Soluble SD protein, when added at nanomolar concentrations to dissociated hippocampal neurons or to acute hippocampal slices, impairs the inhibitory effect of GABA(B) heteroreceptors on evoked and spontaneous glutamate release. In contrast, soluble SD protein neither impairs the activity of GABA(B) autoreceptors nor impairs the activity of postsynaptic GABA(B) receptors. We propose that soluble SD protein scavenges an extracellular binding partner that retains GABA(B1a)-containing heteroreceptors in proximity of the presynaptic release machinery. Soluble GABA(B1) isoforms like GABAB(1j) may therefore act as dominant-negative inhibitors of heteroreceptors and control the level of GABA(B)-mediated inhibition at glutamatergic terminals. Of importance for drug discovery, our data also demonstrate that it is possible to selectively impair GABA(B) heteroreceptors by targeting their SDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31005-31011
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2008


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    Barlow, P.



    Project: Research

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