Editors' ChoiceSynaptic Plasticity

Recruiting NMDA Receptors

STKE  15 Jan 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 115, pp. tw27
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.115.tw27

Grosshans et al. studied glutamate receptor trafficking in response to stimuli that produce long-term potentiation (LTP) in adult rat hippocampal slices. Using two independent methods, they showed that LTP was associated with insertion of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors, not α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamate receptors. The redistribution of the NMDA receptors was associated with tyrosine phosphorylation of the NR2A subunit of the NMDA receptor and insertion preferentially of a specific splice variant of the NR1 subunit. Pharmacological treatments showed that protein kinase C and non-receptor tyrosine kinases of the Src family were important for the plasma membrane insertion of the NMDA receptors and for the formation of LTP. Thus, unlike the situation in immature or cultured neurons, insertion of new NMDA receptors, not AMPA receptors, may be an important contributor to synaptic plasticity in the adult brain.

D. R. Grosshans, D. A. Clayton, S. J. Coultrap, M. D. Browning, LTP leads to rapid surface expression of NMDA but not AMPA receptors in adult rat CA1. Nature Neurosci. 5, 27-33 (2002). [Online Journal]