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S1P2-Gα12 signaling inhibits astrocytic glutamate uptake and mitochondrial oxygen consumption

Jonnalagadda, D;Kihara, Y;Rivera, R;Chun, J;

Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain. Following neurotransmission, astrocytes remove excess extracellular glutamate to prevent neurotoxicity. Glutamate neurotoxicity has been reported in multiple neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), representing a shared neurodegenerative mechanism. A potential modulator of glutamate neurotoxicity is the bioactive lysophospholipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) that signals through five cognate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), S1P1 – S1P5, however, a clear link between glutamate homeostasis and S1P signaling has not been established. Here, S1P receptor knock-out mice, primary astrocyte cultures, and receptor-selective chemical tools were used to examine the effects of S1P on glutamate uptake. S1P inhibited astrocytic glutamate uptake in a dose-dependent manner and increased mitochondrial oxygen consumption, primarily through S1P2. Primary cultures of wild-type mouse astrocytes expressed S1P1,2,3 transcripts, and selective deletion of S1P1 and/or S1P3 in cerebral cortical astrocytes, did not alter S1P-mediated, dose-dependent inhibition of glutamate uptake. Pharmacological antagonists, S1P2-null astrocytes, and Gα12 hemizygous-null astrocytes indicated that S1P2-Gα12-Rho/ROCK signaling was primarily responsible for the S1P-dependent inhibition of glutamate uptake. In addition, S1P exposure increased mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates (OCRs) in wild-type astrocytes, and reduced OCRs in S1P2-null astrocytes, implicating receptor selective metabolic consequences of S1P-mediated glutamate uptake inhibition. Astrocytic S1P-S1P2 signaling increased extracellular glutamate, which could contribute to neurotoxicity. This effect was not observed with the FDA-approved S1P receptor modulators, siponimod and fingolimod. Development and use of S1P2-selective antagonists may provide a new approach to reduce glutamate neurotoxicity in neurological diseases.