In vivo regulation of Homer1a expression in the striatum by cocaine

Guo Chi Zhang, Li Min Mao, Xian Yu Liu, Nikhil K. Parelkar, Anish Arora, Lu Yang, Michelle Hains, Eugene E. Fibuch, John Q. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The glutamate receptor adaptor protein Homer is concentrated in the postsynaptic density of excitatory synapses and is critical for normal operation of synaptic transmission. In this study, we investigated the responsiveness of Homer family proteins to dopamine stimulation with the psychostimulant cocaine in rat striatal neurons both in vivo and in vitro. We found that a single dose of cocaine specifically induced a rapid and transient increase in protein levels of the Homer1a, but not Homer1b/c and Homer2a/b, isoforms in the striatum. This selective Homer1a induction was mediated primarily through activation of dopamine D1, but not D2, receptors. Both protein kinase A and Ca 2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases are important for mediating the cocaine stimulation of Homer1a expression. At the transcriptional level, cAMP response element-binding protein serves as a prime transcription factor transmitting the signals derived from D1 receptors and associative pathways to the CaCRE sites within the Homer1a promoter. From a functional perspective, non-cross-linking Homer1a, once induced, competed with the cross-linking isoforms of Homer proteins (Homer1b/c and Homer2a/b) to uncouple the connection of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) with inositol-1,4,5- triphosphate receptors. These results indicate that cocaine possesses the ability to stimulate Homer1a expression in striatal neurons through a specific synapse-to-nucleus pathway. Moreover, inducible Homer1a expression may represent a transcription-dependent mechanism underlying the dynamic regulation of submembranous macromolecular complex formation between group I mGluRs and their anchoring proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1158
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


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