A critical role for the GluA1 accessory protein, SAP97, in cocaine seeking

White SL, Ortinski PI, SH Friedman, L Zhang, RL Neve, RG Kalb, HD Schmidt, RC Pierce

Neuropsychopharmacology, 41:736-750

A growing body of evidence indicates that the transport of GluA1 subunit-containing calcium-permeable AMPA receptors (CP-AMPARs) to synapses in subregions of the nucleus accumbens promotes cocaine seeking. Consistent with these findings, the present results show that administration of the CP-AMPAR antagonist, Naspm, into the caudal lateral core or caudal medial shell of the nucleus accumbens attenuated cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of drug seeking. Moreover, viral-mediated overexpression of 'pore dead' GluA1 subunits (via herpes simplex virus (HSV) GluA1-Q582E) in the lateral core or medial shell attenuated the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. The overexpression of wild-type GluA1 subunits (via HSV GluA1-WT) in the medial shell, but not the lateral core, enhanced the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. These results indicate that activation of GluA1-containing AMPARs in subregions of the nucleus accumbens reinstates cocaine seeking. SAP97 and 4.1N are proteins involved in GluA1 trafficking to and stabilization in synapses; SAP97-GluA1 interactions also influence dendritic growth. We next examined potential roles of SAP97 and 4.1N in cocaine seeking. Viral-mediated expression of a microRNA that reduces SAP97 protein expression (HSV miSAP97) in the medial accumbens shell attenuated cocaine seeking. In contrast, a virus that overexpressed a dominant-negative form of a 4.1N C-terminal domain (HSV 4.1N-CTD), which prevents endogenous 4.1N binding to GluA1 subunits, had no effect on cocaine seeking. These results indicate that the GluA1 subunit accessory protein SAP97 may represent a novel target for pharmacotherapeutic intervention in the treatment of cocaine craving.