Trehalose is a nonreducing disaccharide that has recently attracted much attention because of its ability to inhibit protein aggregation, induce autophagy, and protect against dissections and strokes. In vertebrates, the biosynthesis of trehalose was long considered absent due to the lack of annotated genes involved in this process. In contrast, trehalase (TreH), which is an enzyme required for the cleavage of trehalose, is known to be conserved and expressed. Here, we show that trehalose is present as an endogenous metabolite in the rodent hippocampus. We found that primary astrocytes were able to synthesize trehalose and release it into the extracellular space. Notably, the TreH enzyme was observed only in the soma of neurons, which are the exclusive users of this substrate. A statistical analysis of the metabolome during different stages of maturation indicated that this metabolite is implicated in neuronal maturation. A morphological analysis of primary neurons confirmed that trehalose is required for neuronal arborization.
- Journal Article