Synaptosomes, purified from rat cerebral cortex, were prelabeled with [3H]inositol to study phosphatidylinositol turnover in nerve terminals. Labeled synaptosomes were either depolarized with 40 mM K+ or exposed to carbamoylcholine (carbachol). K+ depolarization increased the level of inositol phosphates in a time-dependent manner. The inositol trisphosphate concentration increased rapidly and transiently, reaching maximum (250% of control) in less than 3 sec and returning to near basal levels by 30 sec. The inositol bisphosphate level also increased rapidly, but its elevated level (220% of control) was sustained during continued depolarization. The elevated level of inositol bisphosphate was reversed upon repolarization of the synaptosomes. The level of inositol monophosphate increased slowly to 120-130% of control. These effects of K+ depolarization depended on the presence of Ca2+ in the incubation medium. Carbachol stimulated the turnover of phosphatidylinositol in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The level of inositol trisphosphate increased only slightly (120-130% of control) during carbachol stimulation. The level of inositol bisphosphate increased to 210% of control, and this maximal response was seen from 15 to 60 min. Accumulation of inositol monophosphate (250% of control) was larger than that of inositol bisphosphate, but its time course was slower. Atropine and pirenzepine inhibited the carbachol effect with high affinities of 0.8 nM and 16 nM, respectively, indicating that the effect of carbachol was mediated by activation of a M1 muscarinic receptor. Incubation of synaptosomes in Ca2+-free buffer reduced the response to carbachol by 30%, and addition of EGTA abolished it. These data show that both Ca2+ influx and M1 muscarinic receptor activation stimulate phospholipase C activity in synaptosomes, suggesting that phosphatidylinositol turnover may be involved in regulating neurotransmitter release from nerve terminals
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