Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Correcting Cocaine-Induced Plasticity

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Science's STKE  31 Jul 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 397, pp. tw277
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3972007tw277

It has been proposed that metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent long-term depression (mGluR-LTD) can reverse cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Mameli et al. have now unraveled the expression mechanism of mGluR-LTD in the VTA of mice exposed to a single dose of cocaine. LTD in this system is not due to the simple removal of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) from the synapse. Instead, AMPARs are replaced by new ones that contain newly synthesized GluR2 subunits. The synapse thus expresses LTD not because there are fewer receptors but because the conductance of the new GluR2-containing AMPARs is reduced.

M. Mameli, B. Balland, R. Luján, C. Lüscher, Rapid synthesis and synaptic insertion of GluR2 for mGluR-LTD in the ventral tegmental area. Science 317, 530-533 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]