Severe stress induces changes in neuronal function that are implicated in stress-related disorders such as depression. The molecular mechanisms underlying the response of the brain to stress remain primarily unknown, however. Signal regulatory protein α (SIRPα) is an Ig-superfamily protein that undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation and binds the protein tyrosine phosphatase Shp2. Here we show that mice expressing a form of SIRPα that lacks most of the cytoplasmic region manifest prolonged immobility (depression-like behavior) in the forced swim (FS) test. FS stress induced marked tyrosine phosphorylation of SIRPα in the brain of wild-type mice through activation of Src family kinases. The SIRPα ligand CD47 was important for such SIRPα phosphorylation, and CD47-deficient mice also manifested prolonged immobility in the FS test. Moreover, FS stress-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of both the NR2B subunit of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptor and the K +-channel subunit Kvβ2 was regulated by SIRPα. Thus, tyrosine phosphorylation of SIRPα is important for regulation of depression-like behavior in the response of the brain to stress.
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