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Title: Homeostatic regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activity and axonal Kv7.3 expression by prolonged blockade of hippocampal neuronal activity

Homeostatic plasticity encompasses the mechanisms by which neurons stabilize their synaptic strength and excitability in response to prolonged and destabilizing changes in their network activity. Prolonged activity blockade leads to homeostatic scaling of action potential (AP) firing rate in hippocampal neurons in part by decreased activity of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptors and subsequent transcriptional down-regulation of potassium channel genes includingKCNQ3which encodes Kv7.3. Neuronal Kv7 channels are mostly heterotetramers of Kv7.2 and Kv7.3 subunits and are highly enriched at the axon initial segment (AIS) where their current potently inhibits repetitive and burst firing of APs. However, whether a decrease in Kv7.3 expression occurs at the AIS during homeostatic scaling of intrinsic excitability and what signaling pathway reducesKCNQ3transcript upon prolonged activity blockade remain unknown. Here, we report that prolonged activity blockade in cultured hippocampal neurons reduces the activity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) followed by a decrease in the activation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor, Tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB). Furthermore, both prolonged activity blockade and prolonged pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 decreaseKCNQ3andBDNFtranscripts as well as the density of Kv7.3 and ankyrin-G at the AIS. Collectively, our findings suggest that a reduction in the ERK1/2 activity and subsequent transcriptional down-regulation may serve as a potential signaling pathway that links prolonged activity blockade to homeostatic control of BDNF-TrkB signaling and Kv7.3 density at the AIS during homeostatic scaling of AP firing rate.

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Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
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National Science Foundation
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