Mutations in integral membrane protein 2B (ITM2b/BRI2) gene cause familial British and Danish dementia (FBD and FDD), autosomal dominant disorders characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration. Two pathogenic mechanisms, which may not be mutually exclusive, have been proposed for FDD and FBD: 1) loss of BRI2 function; 2) accumulation of amyloidogenic mutant BRI2-derived peptides, but the mechanistic details remain unclear. We have previously reported a physiological role of BRI2 in excitatory synaptic transmission at both presynaptic termini and postsynaptic termini. To test whether pathogenic ITM2b mutations affect these physiological BRI2 functions, we analyzed glutamatergic transmission in FDD and FBD knock-in mice, which carry pathogenic FDD and FBD mutations into the mouse endogenous Itm2b gene. We show that in both mutant lines, spontaneous glutamate release and AMPAR-mediated responses are decreased, while shortterm synaptic facilitation is increased, effects similar to those observed in Itm2bKO mice. In vivo and in vitro studies show that both pathogenic mutations alter maturation of BRI2 resulting in reduced levels of functional mature BRI2 protein at synapses. Collectively, the data show that FDD and FBD mutations cause a reduction of BRI2 levels and function at synapses, which results in reduced glutamatergic transmission. Notably, other genes mutated in Familial dementia, such as APP, PSEN1/PSEN2, are implicated in glutamatergic synaptic transmission, a function that is altered by pathogenic mutations. Thus, defects in excitatory neurotransmitter release may represent a general and convergent mechanism leading to neurodegeneration. Targeting these dysfunction may offer a unique disease modifying method of therapeutic intervention in neurodegenerative disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology