Synaptic strengthening through activation of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors

Academic Article


  • Postsynaptic Ca2+ elevation during synaptic transmission is an important trigger for short- and long-term changes in synaptic strength in the vertebrate central nervous system. The AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5- methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionate) receptors, a subfamily of glutamate receptors, mediate much of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain and spinal cord. It has been shown that a subtype of the AMPA receptor is Ca2+- permeable and is present in subpopulations of neurons. When synaptically localized, these receptors should mediate postsynaptic Ca2+ influx, providing a trigger for changes in synaptic strength. Here we show that Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors are synaptically localized on a subpopulation of dorsal horn neurons, that they provide a synaptically gated route of Ca2+ entry, and that activation of these receptors strengthens synaptic transmission mediated by AMPA receptors. This pathway for postsynaptic Ca2+ influx may provide a new form of activity-dependent modulation of synaptic strength.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Nature  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gu JG; Albuquerque C; Lee CJ; MacDermott AB
  • Start Page

  • 793
  • End Page

  • 796
  • Volume

  • 381
  • Issue

  • 6585