Estrogen Modulates ubc9 Expression and Synaptic Redistribution in the Brain of APP/PS1 Mice and Cortical Neurons
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Estrogen exerts multiple actions in the brain and is an important neuroprotective factor in a number of neuronal disorders. However, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Studies demonstrate that ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme 9 (ubc9) has an integral role in synaptic plasticity and may contribute to the pathology of neuronal disorders. We aimed to investigate the effects of estrogen on ubc9 and in the Alzheimer’s disease brain. Ubc9 protein and mRNA were significantly increased in the cortex and hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice with enhanced SUMOylation. Systemic estrogen administration led to reduced ubc9 expression in ovariectomized APP/PS1 mice and reduced SUMOylation. The inhibition of ubc9 expression by estrogen was found to be dose-dependent in cultured neurons. However, estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI182780 did not block the inhibition of ubc9 expression by estrogen. Furthermore, the reduced expression of ubc9 was not mediated by ERα or ERβ agonists alone or in combination, but by the membrane-impermeable ER agonist E2-bovine serum albumin. The activation of the G protein-coupled ER mediated the inhibition of ubc9 expression of estrogen. A phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, rather than an extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor, blocked the inhibition of ubc9 by estrogen. Estrogen treatment significantly increased the phosphorylation of PI3K, which suggests that activation of the PI3K pathway by estrogen is required for ubc9 regulation. Further, ubc9 interacted with the synaptic proteins post-synaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) and synaptophysin. Estrogen decreased the interaction of ubc9 with post-synaptic PSD95, but increased the interaction of ubc9 with pre-synaptic synaptophysin. These results suggest that a membrane-bound ER might mediate the estrogen inhibition of ubc9 in cortical neurons, where PI3K plays an important role. We also show that ubc9 can interact with synaptic proteins, which are subject to estrogen regulation.
KeywordsEstrogen ubc9 Neuroplasticity PSD95 Synaptophysin
This work was supported by NSFC grants (numbers 81171197 and 81220108010) and a Bureau of Health of Chongqing Medical Research grant (number 2011-1-018) to G-J. C.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All protocols were approved by the Commission of Chongqing Medical University for Ethics of Experiments on Animals and were conducted in accordance with international standards.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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