The Hippocampal Response to Acute Corticosterone Elevation Is Altered in a Mouse Model for Angelman Syndrome

Eva M.G. Viho*, A. Mattijs Punt, Ben Distel, René Houtman, Jan Kroon, Ype Elgersma, Onno C. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder, caused by the neuronal absence of the ubiquitin protein ligase E3A (UBE3A). UBE3A promotes ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation and functions as a transcriptional coregulator of nuclear hormone receptors, including the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Previous studies showed anxiety-like behavior and hippocampal-dependent memory disturbances in AS mouse models. Hippocampal GR is an important regulator of the stress response and memory formation, and we therefore investigated whether the absence of UBE3A in AS mice disrupted GR signaling in the hippocampus. We first established a strong cortisol-dependent interaction between the GR ligand binding domain and a UBE3A nuclear receptor box in a high-throughput interaction screen. In vivo, we found that UBE3A-deficient AS mice displayed significantly more variation in circulating corticosterone levels throughout the day compared to wildtypes (WT), with low to undetectable levels of corticosterone at the trough of the circadian cycle. Additionally, we observed an enhanced transcriptomic response in the AS hippocampus following acute corticosterone treatment. Surprisingly, chronic corticosterone treatment showed less contrast between AS and WT mice in the hippocampus and liver transcriptomic responses. This suggests that UBE3A limits the acute stimulation of GR signaling, likely as a member of the GR transcriptional complex. Altogether, these data indicate that AS mice are more sensitive to acute glucocorticoid exposure in the brain compared to WT mice. This suggests that stress responsiveness is altered in AS which could lead to anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number303
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially funded by Corcept Therapeutics. J.K. is seconded by Corcept Therapeutics, and Corcept Therapeutics provides funding to O.C.M.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

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