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Science 304 (5673): 973-974

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Controlling the Ups and Downs of Synaptic Strength

Tim Bliss and Ralf Schoepfer

Neuroscientists have long been puzzled by the fact that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors can both boost and dampen synaptic efficiency in the brain. In their Perspective, Bliss and Schoepfer reveal specific roles for NMDA receptor subtypes. According to new work (Liu et al.), the NMDA receptor supports either long-term potentiation or long-term depression, depending on whether the receptor contains NR2A or NR2B subunits, respectively.

T. Bliss is in the Division of Neurophysiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK. R. Schoepfer is in the Department of Pharmacology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. E-mail: tbliss{at}

Local signaling with molecular diffusion as a decoder of Ca2+ signals in synaptic plasticity.
H. Naoki, Y. Sakumura, and S. Ishii (2014)
Mol Syst Biol 1, 2005.0027
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Modular Competition Driven by NMDA Receptor Subtypes in Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity.
R. C. Gerkin, P.-M. Lau, D. W. Nauen, Y. T. Wang, and G.-Q. Bi (2007)
J Neurophysiol 97, 2851-2862
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NMDA Receptor Subunits Have Differential Roles in Mediating Excitotoxic Neuronal Death Both In Vitro and In Vivo.
Y. Liu, T. P. Wong, M. Aarts, A. Rooyakkers, L. Liu, T. W. Lai, D. C. Wu, J. Lu, M. Tymianski, A. M. Craig, et al. (2007)
J. Neurosci. 27, 2846-2857
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NF-{kappa}B Regulates Spatial Memory Formation and Synaptic Plasticity through Protein Kinase A/CREB Signaling.
B. Kaltschmidt, D. Ndiaye, M. Korte, S. Pothion, L. Arbibe, M. Prullage, J. Pfeiffer, A. Lindecke, V. Staiger, A. Israel, et al. (2006)
Mol. Cell. Biol. 26, 2936-2946
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Role of Distinct NMDA Receptor Subtypes at Central Synapses.
S. G. Cull-Candy and D. N. Leszkiewicz (2004)
Sci. STKE 2004, re16
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Comment on "Role of NMDA Receptor Subtypes in Governing the Direction of Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity".
D. A. Rusakov, A. Scimemi, M. C. Walker, and D. M. Kullmann (2004)
Science 305, 1912b
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