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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2011, Article ID 537659, 12 pages
Research Article

Diacylglycerol Signaling Underlies Astrocytic ATP Release

1Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111, USA
2Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 7 January 2011; Accepted 5 May 2011

Academic Editor: Stuart C. Mangel

Copyright © 2011 Alison E. Mungenast. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Astrocytes have the ability to modulate neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission by the release of gliotransmitters. The importance of ATP released downstream of the activation of Gq-coupled receptors has been well established, but the mechanisms by which this release is regulated are unclear. The current work reveals that the elevation of diacylglycerol (DAG) in astrocytes induces vesicular ATP release. Unexpectedly, DAG-induced ATP release was found to be independent of PKC activation, but dependent upon activation of a C1 domain-containing protein. Astrocytes express the C1 domain-containing protein Munc13-1, which has been implicated in neuronal transmitter release, and RNAi-targeted downregulation of Munc13-1 inhibits astrocytic ATP release. These studies demonstrate that elevations of DAG induce the exocytotic release of ATP in astrocytes, likely via a Munc13-1-dependent mechanism.