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Synthesis of FMRFaNV, a Photoreleasable Caged Transmitter Designed to Study Neuron-Glia Interactions in the Central Nervous System.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Janett Elia, Bernardinelli Yann, Müller Dominique, Bochet Christian G,
Project Photons in organic synthesis
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Bioconjugate chemistry
Volume (Issue) 26(12)
Page(s) 2408 - 18
Title of proceedings Bioconjugate chemistry
DOI 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.5b00473


Neuroscience studies require technologies able to deliver compounds with both scale and timing compatibility with morphological and physiological synaptic properties. In this light, two-photon flash photolysis has been extensively used to successfully apply glutamate or other neurotransmitters at the synaptic level. However, the set of commercially available caged compounds is restricted and incompatible with studies demanding high cell specificity. The gain in cell specificity is especially relevant and challenging when studying neuron-glia interactions in the central nervous system. Here we develop a system to mimic the metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent response of astrocytes, a glial cell type, following synaptic glutamate release. For this, we expressed an exogeneous orphan Gq-coupled protein of the Mas-related-gene (Mrg) family in glial cells and generated an MrgR's agonist peptide (FMRFa) that was chemically caged with a nitroveratryl photolabile protecting group (NV). NV has an appropriate quantum yield and a high absorption maximum that makes it very adapted to experiments with very short irradiation time. This novel caged compound allowed the activation of MrgR with both single- and two-photon light sources. Indeed, MrgR activation induced calcium transients and morphological changes in astrocytes as described previously. Thus, FMRFaNV is a very promising tool to study neuron-glia interactions.