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Pharmacol Rev. 2005 Jun;57(2):253-77.

The molecular pharmacology and cell biology of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, Bristol University, Bristol, UK.


Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate receptors (AMPARs) are of fundamental importance in the brain. They are responsible for the majority of fast excitatory synaptic transmission, and their overactivation is potently excitotoxic. Recent findings have implicated AMPARs in synapse formation and stabilization, and regulation of functional AMPARs is the principal mechanism underlying synaptic plasticity. Changes in AMPAR activity have been described in the pathology of numerous diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and epilepsy. Unsurprisingly, the developmental and activity-dependent changes in the functional synaptic expression of these receptors are under tight cellular regulation. The molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the postsynaptic insertion, arrangement, and lifetime of surface-expressed AMPARs are the subject of intense and widespread investigation. For example, there has been an explosion of information about proteins that interact with AMPAR subunits, and these interactors are beginning to provide real insight into the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the cell biology of AMPARs. As a result, there has been considerable progress in this field, and the aim of this review is to provide an account of the current state of knowledge.

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