A Role for PGC-1α in Transcription and Excitability of Neocortical and Hippocampal Excitatory Neurons

Academic Article


  • The transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) is a critical regulator of genes involved in neuronal metabolism, neurotransmission, and morphology. Reduced PGC-1α expression has been implicated in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. An understanding of PGC-1α’s roles in different cell types will help determine the functional consequences of PGC-1α dysfunction and/or deficiency in disease. Reports from our laboratory and others suggest a critical role for PGC-1α in inhibitory neurons with high metabolic demand such as fast-spiking interneurons. Here, we document a previously unrecognized role for PGC-1α in maintenance of gene expression programs for synchronous neurotransmitter release, structure, and metabolism in neocortical and hippocampal excitatory neurons. Deletion of PGC-1α from these neurons caused ambulatory hyperactivity in response to a novel environment and enhanced glutamatergic transmission in neocortex and hippocampus, along with reductions in mRNA levels from several PGC-1α neuron-specific target genes. Given the potential role for a reduction in PGC-1α expression or activity in Huntington Disease (HD), we compared reductions in transcripts found in the neocortex and hippocampus of these mice to that of an HD knock-in model; few of these transcripts were reduced in this HD model. These data provide novel insight into the function of PGC-1α in glutamatergic neurons and suggest that it is required for the regulation of structural, neurosecretory, and metabolic genes in both glutamatergic neuron and fast-spiking interneuron populations in a region-specific manner. These findings should be considered when inferring the functional relevance of changes in PGC-1α gene expression in the context of disease.
  • Published In

  • Neuroscience  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McMeekin LJ; Bartley AF; Bohannon AS; Adlaf EW; van Groen T; Boas SM; Fox SN; Detloff PJ; Crossman DK; Overstreet-Wadiche LS
  • Start Page

  • 73
  • End Page

  • 94
  • Volume

  • 435