Alleviation of N-Methyl-d-Aspartate Receptor-Dependent Long-Term Depression via Regulation of the Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3β Pathway in the Amygdala of a Valproic Acid-Induced Animal Model of Autism
Anxiety disorders are a highly prevalent and disabling class of psychiatric disorders. There is growing evidence implicating the glutamate system in the pathophysiology and treatment of anxiety disorders, though the molecular mechanism by which the glutamate system regulates anxiety-like behavior remains unclear. In this study, we provide evidence suggesting that tyrosine phosphorylation of the NMDA receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor, contributes to anxiety-like behavior. The GluN2B subunit of the NMDA receptor is tyrosine-phosphorylated: Tyr-1472 is the major phosphorylation site. Homozygous knock-in mice that express a Tyr-1472-Phe mutant of GluN2B, which prevents phosphorylation of this site, show enhanced anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus-maze test. Expression of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which is important for the regulation of anxiety-like behavior, is increased in the amygdala of the knock-in mice. Furthermore, injection of CRF receptor antagonist attenuated the enhanced anxiety-like behavior of the knock-in mice. We also show that elevated plus-maze exposure simultaneously induced de-phosphorylation of Tyr-1472 and increased CRF expression. These data suggest that Tyr-1472 phosphorylation on GluN2B is important for anxiety-like behavior by negative regulation of CRF expression in the amygdala.