Astroglial cells are key to maintain nervous system homeostasis, as they are able to perceive a wide variety of extracellular signals and to transduce them into responses that may be protective or disruptive toward neighboring neurons through the activation of distinct signaling pathways. Neurotrophins are a family of growth factors known for their pleiotropic effects on neuronal survival, maturation and plasticity. In this work, we investigated: (i) the signaling competence of embryonic and postnatal primary cortical astrocytes exposed to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); and (ii) the role of the scaffold protein Kinase D interacting substrate/ankyrin repeat-rich membrane spanning (Kidins220/ARMS), a transmembrane protein that mediates neurotrophin signaling in neurons, in the astrocyte response to BDNF. We found a shift from a kinase-based response in embryonic cells to a predominantly [Ca2+]i-based response in postnatal cultures associated with the decreased expression of the full-length BDNF receptor TrkB. We also found that Kidins220/ARMS contributes to the BDNF-activated intracellular signaling in astrocytes by potentiating both kinase and [Ca2+]i pathways. Finally, Kidins220/ARMS contributes to astrocytes’ homeostatic function by controlling the expression of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel (Kir) 4.1. Overall, our data contribute to the understanding of the complex role played by astrocytes within the central nervous system and identify Kidins220/ARMS as a novel actor in the increasing number of pathologies characterized by astrocytes’ dysfunctions.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience