The glutamate transporter GLT-1 is highly expressed in astrocytes but also in neurons, primarily in axon terminals. We generated a conditional neuronal GLT-1KOusing synapsin 1-Cre (synGLT-1 KO) to elucidate the metabolic functions of GLT-1 expressed in neurons, here focusing on the cerebral cortex. Both synaptosomal uptake studies and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry demonstrated knockdown of GLT-1 in the cerebral cortex in the synGLT-1 KO mice. Aspartate content was significantly reduced in cerebral cortical extracts as well as synaptosomes from cerebral cortex of synGLT-1 KO compared with control littermates. 13C-Labeling of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates originating from metabolism of [U-13C]-glutamate was significantly reduced in synGLT-1KOsynaptosomes. The decreased aspartate content was due to diminished entry of glutamate into the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Pyruvate recycling, a pathway necessary for full glutamate oxidation, was also decreased. ATP production was significantly increased, despite unaltered oxygen consumption, in isolated mitochondria from the synGLT-1 KO. The density of mitochondria in axon terminals and perisynaptic astrocytes was increased in the synGLT-1 KO. Intramitochondrial cristae density of synGLT-1 KO mice was increased, suggesting increased mitochondrial efficiency, perhaps in compensation for reduced access to glutamate. SynGLT-1KOsynaptosomes exhibited an elevated oxygen consumption rate when stimulated with veratridine, despite a lower baseline oxygen consumption rate in the presence of glucose. GLT-1 expressed in neurons appears to be required to provide glutamate to synaptic mitochondria and is linked to neuronal energy metabolism and mitochondrial function.
- TCA cycle
ASJC Scopus subject areas