A model for modulation of neuronal synchronization by D4 dopamine receptor-mediated phospholipid methylation

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Abstract

We describe a new molecular mechanism of dopamine-induced membrane protein modulation that can tune neuronal oscillation frequency to attention-related gamma rhythm. This mechanism is based on the unique ability of D4 dopamine receptors (D4R) to carry out phospholipid methylation (PLM) that may affect the kinetics of ion channels. We show that by deceasing the inertia of the delayed rectifier potassium channel, a transition to 40 Hz oscillations can be achieved. Decreased potassium channel inertia shortens spike duration and decreases the interspike interval via its influence on the calcium-dependent potassium current. This mechanism leads to a transition to attention-related gamma oscillations in a pyramidal cell-interneuron network. The higher frequency and better synchronization is observed with PLM affecting pyramidal neurons only, and recurrent excitation between pyramidal neurons is important for synchronization. Thus dopamine-stimulated methylation of membrane phospholipids may be an important mechanism for modulating firing activity, while impaired methylation can contribute to disorders of attention.

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