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Title: Site-directed monoclonal antibodies : developing a tool for manipulating AMPA-type ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits in the mouse brain
Author: Lee, Aletheia
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Ionotropic glutamate AMPA-type receptors mediate fast excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system and are essential for synaptic plasticity. Expression of the receptor subunits varies with cell type, stage of development and brain region. Subunit composition determines functional properties of the receptor, including gating kinetics and synaptic trafficking. The research aimed to selectively disrupt the GluA1 subunit abundantly expressed in the hippocampus of the wild-type mouse, so as to examine its role in learning and memory. Site-directed monoclonal antibodies were engineered to target the extracellular amino-terminal domain of GluA1 for subunit-selective manipulation. The antibody-binding region was selected for heterogeneity and accessibility based on the amino acid sequences and crystal structures solved for the AMPA receptor subunits. Immunisations of peptide antigen in mice generated serum antibodies that recognise the equivalent epitope on the fully folded GluA1 subunit. The antigen-binding Fab fragment of the monoclonal anti-GluA1 antibody was cloned from hydridoma mRNA and purified from large-scale transient expression in mammalian cells. Biophysical characterisations of anti-GluA1 Fab immunoglobulin showed high specificity and affinity for the target subunit. Acute bilateral intrahippocampal administration of anti-GluA1 Fab protein into awake, behaving wild-type mice produced dissociations in spatial memory performance that resembled GluA1-/- knockout mice. Impaired short-term spatial working memory but intact long-term spatial reference memory observed with anti-GluA1 Fab infusions suggested that the immunoglobulin reagent exerted an acute, reversible, localised, GluA1-specific antagonism in the brain. The findings argue for a critical involvement of the hippocampal GluA1 subunit in certain short-term memory processes, but not in other distinct long-term memory processes. Temporal resolution of the antibody-mediated disruption revealed novel fractionations of short-term memory performance never before observed in the GluA1-/- knockout mice, demonstrating the strength of the monoclonal anti-GluA1 antibodies as an investigative tool.
Supervisor: Bannerman, David M.; Aricescu, A. Radu Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Neuroscience ; Behavioural Neuroscience ; Learning ; Memory ; Attention ; Experimental psychology ; Membrane proteins ; Glutamate receptors ; GluA1 subunit ; Subunit-selective manipulation ; Antibodies ; Neuronal targets ; Hippocampus ; Short-term spatial working memory