We have reported that a novel GABA-A receptor (GABAR) isoform, alpha4-beta2-delta, is responsive to low, but not high, concentrations of ethanol. This effect was seen both in recombinant and native receptors following withdrawal from the GABA-modulatory steroid THP, when levels of this normally underexpressed receptor are markedly increased in limbic areas such as hippocampus. This proposal will investigate possible mechanisms for this effect, using transient expression in HEK-293 cells to examine dose-dependent effects of ethanol on single channel properties and deactivation kinetics. Because ethanol increases current amplitude at saturating concentrations of agonist, it is our hypothesis that ethanol is acting to increase gating efficacy of alpha4-beta-delta GABAR, as has been shown for steroid effects at this receptor. Therefore, site directed mutagenesis will be used to create constitutively active channels in GABAR expressed in HEK-293 cells to distinguish between effects on binding and gating. In addition, serine to tryptophan mutations at residue 270 in TM2 and A to S mutations in TM3 will be used to test whether residues in the binding cavity identified for effects of high dose ethanol acts to mediate the effects of low dose ethanol on alpha4-beta-delta GABAR. Other labs have reported effects of higher concentrations of ethanol which are effective at delta-containing GABAR. Therefore, it is also our hypothesis that the prolonged (2-5 min) pre-exposure to 1-3 mM ethanol can accelerate desensitization rate in the presence of 30 mM ethanol. Because alpha4-beta-delta GABAR are exclusively extrasynaptic, effects of low dose ethanol will be tested on tonic current recorded from dentate gyrus granule cells, which normally express high levels of these receptors. Antisense knock-down of alpha-4 and delta subunits to verify the role of alpha4-beta-delta GABAR in mediating effects of ethanol. The results from these studies may provide insight into potential mechanisms for effects of low dose ethanol at GABAR. ? ?

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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section (NAL)
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Grandison, Lindsey
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Suny Downstate Medical Center
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Shen, Hui; Sabaliauskas, Nicole; Yang, Lie et al. (2017) Role of ?4-containing GABAA receptors in limiting synaptic plasticity and spatial learning of female mice during the pubertal period. Brain Res 1654:116-122
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