Regulation of the intracellular distribution, cell surface expression, and protein levels of AMPA receptor GluR2 subunits by the monocarboxylate transporter MCT2 in neuronal cells

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The neuronal monocarboxylate transporter, MCT2, is not only an energy substrate carrier but it is also purported to be a binding partner for the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor GluR2 subunit. To unravel a putative role of MCT2 in the regulation of GluR2 subcellular distribution, Neuro2A cells and primary cultures of mouse cortical neurons were co-transfected with plasmids containing sequences to express the fluorescent proteins mStrawberry (mStb)-fused MCT2 and Venus-fused GluR2. Subsequently, their subcellular distribution was visualized by fluorescence microscopy. GluR2 was led to form perinuclear and dendritic clusters together with MCT2 when co-transfected in Neuro2A cells or in neurons, following the original distribution of MCT2. MCT2 co-transfection had no effect on the intracellular distribution of several other post-synaptic proteins, although it partially affected the intracellular distribution of GluR1 similarly to GluR2. Both cell surface and total protein expression levels of GluR2 were significantly reduced by co-expression with MCT2. Finally, partial perinuclear and dendritic co-localization between MCT2 and Rab8, a member of the small GTPase family involved in membrane trafficking of AMPA receptors, was also observed in co-transfected neurons. These results suggest that MCT2 could influence AMPA receptor trafficking within neurons by modulating GluR2 sorting between different subcellular compartments.

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