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DARPP-32 is a robust integrator of dopamine and glutamate signals.

Abstract : Integration of neurotransmitter and neuromodulator signals in the striatum plays a central role in the functions and dysfunctions of the basal ganglia. DARPP-32 is a key actor of this integration in the GABAergic medium-size spiny neurons, in particular in response to dopamine and glutamate. When phosphorylated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), DARPP-32 inhibits protein phosphatase-1 (PP1), whereas when phosphorylated by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) it inhibits PKA. DARPP-32 is also regulated by casein kinases and by several protein phosphatases. These complex and intricate regulations make simple predictions of DARPP-32 dynamic behaviour virtually impossible. We used detailed quantitative modelling of the regulation of DARPP-32 phosphorylation to improve our understanding of its function. The models included all the combinations of the three best-characterized phosphorylation sites of DARPP-32, their regulation by kinases and phosphatases, and the regulation of those enzymes by cAMP and Ca(2+) signals. Dynamic simulations allowed us to observe the temporal relationships between cAMP and Ca(2+) signals. We confirmed that the proposed regulation of protein phosphatase-2A (PP2A) by calcium can account for the observed decrease of Threonine 75 phosphorylation upon glutamate receptor activation. DARPP-32 is not simply a switch between PP1-inhibiting and PKA-inhibiting states. Sensitivity analysis showed that CDK5 activity is a major regulator of the response, as previously suggested. Conversely, the strength of the regulation of PP2A by PKA or by calcium had little effect on the PP1-inhibiting function of DARPP-32 in these conditions. The simulations showed that DARPP-32 is not only a robust signal integrator, but that its response also depends on the delay between cAMP and calcium signals affecting the response to the latter. This integration did not depend on the concentration of DARPP-32, while the absolute effect on PP1 varied linearly. In silico mutants showed that Ser137 phosphorylation affects the influence of the delay between dopamine and glutamate, and that constitutive phosphorylation in Ser137 transforms DARPP-32 in a quasi-irreversible switch. This work is a first attempt to better understand the complex interactions between cAMP and Ca(2+) regulation of DARPP-32. Progressive inclusion of additional components should lead to a realistic model of signalling networks underlying the function of striatal neurons.
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Eric Fernandez, Renaud Schiappa, Jean-Antoine Girault, Nicolas Le Novère. DARPP-32 is a robust integrator of dopamine and glutamate signals.. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2006, 2 (12), pp.e176. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020176⟩. ⟨inserm-00705903⟩

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