Glutamate (Glu), the major excitatory neurotransmitter, elicits its action through the activation of membrane receptors and transporters expressed in neurons and glial cells. Glial glutamate transporters, EAAT1 and EAAT2, remove this transmitter from the synaptic cleft preventing an excitotoxic insult. The Notch pathway is a signaling system involved in neuro- and gliogenesis. Radial glia (RG) generates neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes in a spatial and temporal pattern, in which Notch represses neurogenesis, maintaining the self-renewal potential of RG. Astrogenesis depends on several stimuli, Notch being a master regulator of the differentiation process. The cAMP-PKA-CREB signaling cascade cross talks with the Notch pathway, acting synergistically by reducing progenitor markers and inducing astrocytic differentiation. Notch1 mRNA is upregulated in a PKA/γ-secretase/NICD/CSL-dependent manner, suggesting a feedback loop to keep Notch active until astrocytic differentiation is complete. Glial differentiation is also modulated by PKC, which acts over NICD. In RG cells and astrocytes enwrapping glutamatergic synapses, EAAT1 transcriptional regulation is mediated by PKC, increasing Notch expression and its receptor intracellular traffic. It is clear that Notch represents an activity-dependent molecular key in RG cells that enable them to shape glutamatergic transmission through the expression of genes involved in glial/neuronal interactions.
Part of the book: GABA And Glutamate