Calhm2 governs astrocytic ATP releasing in the development of depression-like behaviors
Extracellular ATP is a widespread cell-to-cell signaling molecule in the brain, where it functions as a neuromodulator by activating glia and neurons. Although ATP exerts multiple effects on synaptic plasticity and neuro-glia interactions, as well as in mood disorders, the source and regulation of ATP release remain to be elaborated. Here, we define Calhm2 as an ATP-releasing channel protein based on in vitro and in vivo models. Conventional knockout and conditional astrocyte knockout of Calhm2 both lead to significantly reduced ATP concentrations, loss of hippocampal spine number, neural dysfunction and depression-like behaviors in mice, which can be significantly rescued by ATP replenishment. Our findings identify Calhm2 as a critical ATP-releasing channel that modulates neural activity and as a potential risk factor of depression.