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ScientificWorldJournal. 2002 Feb 22;2:461-82.

Proteins involved in the trafficking and functional synaptic expression of AMPA and KA receptors.

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  • 1MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, University Walk, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TD, UK. sarah.de-la-rue@bris.ac.uk


Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazolepropionate receptors (AMPARs) mediate the majority of fast synaptic transmission in the mammalian central nervous system, play a central role in synapse stabilisation and plasticity, and their prolonged activation is potently neurotoxic. The functional roles of kainate receptors (KARs) are less well defined but they play a role in some forms of synaptic plasticity. Both receptor types have been shown to be highly developmentally and activity-dependently regulated and their functional synaptic expression is under tight cellular regulation. The molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the synaptic localisation and functional expression of AMPARs and KARs are objects of concerted research. There has been significant progress towards elucidating some of the processes involved with the discovery of an array of proteins that selectively interact with individual AMPAR and KAR subunits. These proteins have been implicated in, among other things, the regulation of post-translational modification, targeting and trafficking, surface expression, and anchoring. The aim of this review is to present an overview of the major interacting proteins and suggest how they may fit into the hierarchical series of events controlling the trafficking of AMPARs and KARs.

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