NF-Y-dependent regulation of glutamate receptor 4 expression and cell survival in cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage

Ghazala Begum, Masahiro Otsu, Usman Ahmed, Zubair Ahmed, Adam Stevens, Daniel Fulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glutamate receptor subunit 4 (GluA4) is highly expressed by neural cells sensitive to excitotoxicity, and is the predominant subunit expressed by oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) during a key period of vulnerability to hypoxic-ischemic injury. Therefore, transcriptional networks downstream of excitotoxic GluA4 activation represent a promising area for therapeutic intervention. In this work, we identify the CCAAT binding transcription factor NF-Yb as a novel transcriptional regulator of Gria4 (GluA4 gene), and a controller of excitotoxic death in the oligodendroglial lineage. We describe a novel regulatory region within Gria4 containing CCAAT sequences whose binding by NF-Yb is regulated by excitotoxicity. Excitotoxicity-induced alterations in NF-Yb binding are associated with changes in Gria4 transcription, while knockdown of NF-Yb alters the transcription of reporter constructs containing this regulatory region. Data from immortalized and primary OPC reveal that RNAi and pharmacological disruption of NF-Yb alter Gria4 transcription, with the latter inducing apoptosis and influencing a set of apoptotic genes similarly regulated during excitotoxicity. These data provide the first definition of a trans-acting mechanism regulating Gria4, and identify the NF-Y network as a potential source of pharmacological targets for promoting OPC survival.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • AMPA receptor
  • Excitotoxicity
  • GluA4
  • Gria4
  • NF-Yb
  • Oli-neu
  • Oligodendrocyte precursor cell
  • Transcriptional regulation


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