Nuclear and membrane estrogen receptor antagonists induce similar mTORC2 activation-reversible changes in synaptic protein expression and actin polymerization in the mouse hippocampus.

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Estrogens play pivotal roles in hippocampal synaptic plasticity through nuclear receptors (nERs; including ERα and ERβ) and the membrane receptor (mER; also called GPR30), but the underlying mechanism and the contributions of nERs and mER remain unclear. Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) is involved in actin cytoskeleton polymerization and long-term memory, but whether mTORC2 is involved in the regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity by ERs is unclear.


We treated animals with nER antagonists (MPP/PHTPP) or the mER antagonist (G15) alone or in combination with A-443654, an activator of mTORC2. Then, we examined the changes in hippocampal SRC-1 expression, mTORC2 signaling (rictor and phospho-AKTSer473), actin polymerization (phospho-cofilin and profilin-1), synaptic protein expression (GluR1, PSD95, spinophilin, and synaptophysin), CA1 spine density, and synapse density.


All of the examined parameters except synaptophysin expression were significantly decreased by MPP/PHTPP and G15 treatment. MPP/PHTPP and G15 induced a similar decrease in most parameters except p-cofilin, GluR1, and spinophilin expression. The ER antagonist-induced decreases in these parameters were significantly reversed by mTORC2 activation, except for the change in SRC-1, rictor, and synaptophysin expression.


nERs and mER contribute similarly to the changes in proteins and structures associated with synaptic plasticity, and mTORC2 may be a novel target of hippocampal-dependent dementia such as Alzheimer's disease as proposed by previous studies.

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