Adult and Embryonic GAD Transcripts Are Spatiotemporally Regulated during Postnatal Development in the Rat Brain
In adult brain, the inhibitory GABAergic neurons utilize two distinct molecular forms of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), GAD65 and GAD67. During embryonic development, two truncated forms of GAD67 are also expressed (GAD25 and GAD44), which are translated from two embryonic-specific splice variants of GAD67 messenger RNA. It has recently been established that the excitatory dentate granule cells, in addition to the neurotransmitter glutamate, also contain low levels of GABA and GAD67, which are increased after limbic seizures. To study the seizure-induced activation of glutamate decarboxylase, we investigated the expression of both embryonic and adult glutamate decarboxylase messenger RNAs in the adult rat hippocampus after kainic acid administration by semi-quantitative reverse transcription-coupled polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization and immunoblotting. We observed a rapid induction of the embryonic glutamate decarboxylase messenger RNA in the granule cells of dentate gyrus. The expression of embryonic glutamate decarboxylase transcripts, identified here as the splice variant that contains exon 7/B, peaked at about 2h after kainic acid injection and gradually returned to nearly basal levels by 24h. Strikingly, this transient induction of embryonic glutamate decarboxylase messenger RNA was not accompanied by concomitant synthesis of its corresponding protein product GAD25. In contrast, the adult GAD67 messenger RNA and protein were both clearly up-regulated in granule cells, albeit with a certain delay, reaching a maximum around 4-6h after kainic acid injection and gradually returned to control levels by 24h. GAD65 remained unchanged at both messenger RNA and protein levels during the studied period. These characteristic and highly reproducible changes in the synthesis of glutamate decarboxylases indicate that GAD67 is the predominant form of glutamate decarboxylases involved in the elevated synthesis of GABA during seizures and suggest that the transient induction of the embryonic GAD67 messenger RNA that contains exon 7/B, but not GAD25 protein, may exert a role solely in the subsequent up-regulation of adult GAD67 transcription. Expression of the messenger RNA encoding for an alternatively spliced, truncated form of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase was detected in dentate granule cells briefly after kainic acid-induced seizures. Just as during embryonic development, expression of the alternatively spliced messenger RNA was transient and followed by transcription of its adult form, indicating a possible recapitulation of an embryonic program of gene expression in adult granule cells after epileptic seizures.