Glutamate triggers internucleosomal DNA cleavage in neuronal cells

Shigeo Kure, Teiji Tominaga, Takashi Yoshimoto, Keiya Tada, Kuniaki Narisawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Citations (Scopus)


Glutamate neurotoxicity is responsible for neuronal loss associated with numerous obstinate disorders. In this report, the mechanism of glutamate neurotoxicity was investigated on a viewpoint of DNA degradation. We found that chromosomal DNA of cultured neurons was degraded into nucleosomal-sized DNA fragments by the addition of glutamate, prior to the glutamate-induced neuronal death. Both the neuronal death and DNA fragmentation were prevented by the inhibitors of endonucleases and mRNA synthesis. Furthermore, an injection of glutamate into the rat hippocampi resulted in DNA fragmentation with the similar time course observed in neuronal death in vitro. These results suggest that the glutamate neurotoxicity involves an active suicide process which leads to neuronal death through internucleosomal DNA cleavage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Aug 30

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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