JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY
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Activation of Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) activates signaling cascades, resulting in calcium release from intracellular stores, ERK1/2 activation, and long term changes in synaptic activity that are implicated in learning, memory, and neurodegenerative diseases. As such, elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying Group I mGluR signaling is important for understanding physiological responses initiated by the activation of these receptors. In the current study, we identify the multifunctional scaffolding protein spinophilin as a novel Group I mGluR-interacting protein. We demonstrate that spinophilin interacts with the C-terminal tail and second intracellular loop of Group I mGluRs. Furthermore, we show that interaction of spinophilin with Group I mGluRs attenuates receptor endocytosis and phosphorylation of ERK1/2, an effect that is dependent upon the interaction of spinophilin with the C-terminal PDZ binding motif encoded by Group I mGluRs. Spinophilin knock-out results in enhanced mGluR5 endocytosis as well as increased ERK1/2, AKT, and Ca2+ signaling in primary cortical neurons. In addition, the loss of spinophilin expression results in impaired mGluR5-stimulated LTD. Our results indicate that spinophilin plays an important role in regulating the activity of Group I mGluRs as well as their influence on synaptic activity.