This is a competitive renewal for RO1 NS39156, which supports our studies of Narp (Neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin) and related neural pentraxins including NP1 and NPR. Narp is an immediate early gene that is transcriptionally up-regulated in brain neurons in response to patterns of synaptic activity that evoke neuronal plasticity. Our broad goal is to understand how pentraxins contribute to neural plasticity, and thereby reveal new molecular and cellular mechanisms important for learning and memory, and diseases of cognition. Previously, we demonstrated that Narp is secreted at excitatory synapses where it binds AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPAR), and enhances synapse formation. Studies over the past 5 years have provided insights into the molecular basis of Narp's ability to enhance synapse formation, and support a model of diffusion-capture that depends on Narp-AMPAR binding. Remarkably, neural pentraxins also mediate rapid removal of AMPAR from synapses during the process of long-term depression that is induced upon activation of group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR-LTD). These studies revealed a novel coupling of mGluR to the extracellular protease TACE, which cleaves NPR and accelerates AMPAR endocytosis. The actions of neural pentraxins to both increase and decrease synaptic strength are dependent on their ability to form physical associations with AMPAR, and Aim 1 will extend our analysis of this physical interaction. Narp is particularly abundant at excitatory synapses on inhibitory interneurons, and we find that homeostatic changes in the strength of these synapses in response to changes in network activity are dependent on Narp. These observations support a new cellular model of Narp function as an activity-dependent regulator of inhibitory pathways that control network excitability. This hypothesis will be examined in Aim 2.
Aim 3 also explores a new direction for the function of neural pentraxins. In ongoing studies, we have discovered a molecular complex that includes mGluR, neural pentraxins, TACE and BACE. Like TACE, BACE functions to cleave the extracellular (or luminal) domain of transmembrane proteins, and is the rate-limiting enzyme in the cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) to generate A?. We find that neural pentraxins regulate the activity of TACE/BACE toward APP. A mouse KO model that deletes Narp, NP1 and NPR shows enhanced generation of A?40/42, and deposition of insoluble A? and plaque. Experiments in Aim 3 will define the molecular basis of pentraxin-dependent A??generation, and examine the hypothesis that this pathway is central for both normal synaptic plasticity and of activity-dependent generation of A? that contributes to Alzheimer's disease.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal examines mechanisms that mediate long lasting changes to synapses that are important for learning and memory. The work focuses on a protein termed Narp (Neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin), which is rapidly up-regulated in neurons as they participate in information storage. Narp, and related pentraxins, bind AMPA type glutamate receptors at synapses and regulate their function. Proposed studies will define the molecular basis of the action of Narp, and its role in synaptic plasticity and diseases of cognition.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking Study Section (SYN)
Program Officer
Corriveau, Roderick A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Pelkey, Kenneth A; Barksdale, Elizabeth; Craig, Michael T et al. (2015) Pentraxins coordinate excitatory synapse maturation and circuit integration of parvalbumin interneurons. Neuron 85:1257-72
Zeiler, Steven R; Gibson, Ellen M; Hoesch, Robert E et al. (2013) Medial premotor cortex shows a reduction in inhibitory markers and mediates recovery in a mouse model of focal stroke. Stroke 44:483-9
Das, Ishita; Park, Joo-Min; Shin, Jung H et al. (2013) Hedgehog agonist therapy corrects structural and cognitive deficits in a Down syndrome mouse model. Sci Transl Med 5:201ra120
Ary, Alexis W; Cozzoli, Debra K; Finn, Deborah A et al. (2012) Ethanol up-regulates nucleus accumbens neuronal activity dependent pentraxin (Narp): implications for alcohol-induced behavioral plasticity. Alcohol 46:377-87
Reti, Irving M; Blouin, Ashley M; Worley, Paul F et al. (2011) Mediating the effects of drug abuse: the role of Narp in synaptic plasticity. ILAR J 52:321-8
Chang, Michael C; Park, Joo Min; Pelkey, Kenneth A et al. (2010) Narp regulates homeostatic scaling of excitatory synapses on parvalbumin-expressing interneurons. Nat Neurosci 13:1090-7
Cho, Richard W; Park, Joo Min; Wolff, Steffen B E et al. (2008) mGluR1/5-dependent long-term depression requires the regulated ectodomain cleavage of neuronal pentraxin NPR by TACE. Neuron 57:858-71
Xu, Desheng; Hopf, Carsten; Reddy, Radhika et al. (2003) Narp and NP1 form heterocomplexes that function in developmental and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Neuron 39:513-28
Lu, W; Marinelli, M; Xu, D et al. (2002) Amphetamine and cocaine do not increase Narp expression in rat ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens or prefrontal cortex, but Narp may contribute to individual differences in responding to a novel environment. Eur J Neurosci 15:2027-36
O'Brien, Richard; Xu, Desheng; Mi, Ruifa et al. (2002) Synaptically targeted narp plays an essential role in the aggregation of AMPA receptors at excitatory synapses in cultured spinal neurons. J Neurosci 22:4487-98

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications