The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, an excitatory neurotransmitter in brain, is an important site of action of ethanol. Chronic ethanol treatment in vivo and in vitro upregulates the NMDA receptor number and function, with a concomitant increase in R1 and R2B polypeptide levels in vitro. An upregulation of R2B polypeptide levels following chronic ethanol treatment in vivo is due to an increase in R2B mRNA levels by approximately 40 percent in cerebral cortex and by approximately 30 percent in hippocampus. Similar increase in R2B mRNA levels is seen to occur in vitro in cultured fetal cortical neurons. The molecular mechanism underlying an increase in R2B mRNA levels in response to chronic ethanol treatment is an increase in NMDA R2B gene transcription rate. The importance of NMDA R2B receptor subunit in alcohol mediated changes in the brain lies in the fact that ethanol's effect on R2B subunit is seen to occur both in adult and fetal tissue and the intensity of alcohol's effect is same in both instances. Long term plans of this project are to (i) identify if alternative promoters are utilized in adult and fetal tissues; (ii) examine the role of methylation in R2B gene expression; (iii) identify ethanol-responsive cis-controlling regulatory elements in the promoter region of the R2B gene by deoxyribonuclease I hypersensitive analysis; (iv) identify """"""""minimal cis-acting DNA sequences"""""""" that are sufficient to show response to ethanol's action by deletion transfection analysis; (v) identify nuclear protein factor(s) that may interact with minimal cis-acting DNA sequences to alter R2B gene expression and to precisely map how many nucleotides within minimal cis-acting DNA sequences are sufficient for the binding of nuclear factors identified above, and lastly (vi) determine if ethanol mediated increase in intracellular calcium activates specific signal pathways that lead to phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein which in turn, binds to cyclic AMP response element in the 5' flanking region of the R2B gene resulting in an increase in R2B gene transcription rate. We propose to utilize mouse fetal cortical neurons to achieve these goals as during the first 7 days in culture, fetal cortical neurons express mainly R2B subunit. A more through understanding of the pertinent molecular mechanisms through which ethanol alters rate of NMDA R2B gene transcription may permit the design of novel therapeutic approaches to alcohol-related diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-SRC (99))
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Neuhold, Lisa
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University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
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Marutha Ravindran, C R; Ticku, Maharaj K (2009) Effect of 5-azacytidine on the methylation aspects of NMDA receptor NR2B gene in the cultured cortical neurons of mice. Neurochem Res 34:342-50
Qiang, Mei; Denny, Ashley D; Ticku, Maharaj K (2007) Chronic intermittent ethanol treatment selectively alters N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit surface expression in cultured cortical neurons. Mol Pharmacol 72:95-102
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Qiang, Mei; Rani, C S Sheela; Ticku, Maharaj K (2005) Neuron-restrictive silencer factor regulates the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2B subunit gene in basal and ethanol-induced gene expression in fetal cortical neurons. Mol Pharmacol 67:2115-25
Ravindran, C R Marutha; Ticku, Maharaj K (2005) Methylation of NMDA receptor NR2B gene as a function of age in the mouse brain. Neurosci Lett 380:223-8
Rani, C S Sheela; Qiang, Mei; Ticku, Maharaj K (2005) Potential role of cAMP response element-binding protein in ethanol-induced N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2B subunit gene transcription in fetal mouse cortical cells. Mol Pharmacol 67:2126-36
Marutha Ravindran, C R; Ticku, Maharaj K (2005) Role of CpG islands in the up-regulation of NMDA receptor NR2B gene expression following chronic ethanol treatment of cultured cortical neurons of mice. Neurochem Int 46:313-27
Kalluri, Haviryaji S G; Ticku, Maharaj K (2004) Calcium calmodulin dependent phosphorylation of proteins: fetal cortical neurons and adult cortex. Neurochem Res 29:781-4
Tabish, Mohammad; Ticku, Maharaj K (2004) Alternate splice variants of mouse NR2B gene. Neurochem Int 44:339-43
Marutha Ravindran, C R; Ticku, Maharaj K (2004) Changes in methylation pattern of NMDA receptor NR2B gene in cortical neurons after chronic ethanol treatment in mice. Brain Res Mol Brain Res 121:19-27

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