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Nat Toxins. 1998;6(3-4):153-8.

The activation of glutamate receptors by kainic acid and domoic acid.

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The neurotoxins kainic acid and domoic acid are potent agonists at the kainate and alphaamino-5-methyl-3-hydroxyisoxazolone-4-propionate (AMPA) subclasses of ionotropic glutamate receptors. Although it is well established that AMPA receptors mediate fast excitatory synaptic transmission at most excitatory synapses in the central nervous system, the role of the high affinity kainate receptors in synaptic transmission and neurotoxicity is not entirely clear. Kainate and domoate differ from the natural transmitter, L-glutamate, in their mode of activation of glutamate receptors; glutamate elicits rapidly desensitizing responses while the two neurotoxins elicit non-desensitizing or slowly desensitizing responses at AMPA receptors and some kainate receptors. The inability to produce desensitizing currents and the high affinity for AMPA and kainate receptors are undoubtedly important factors in kainate and domoate-mediated neurotoxicity. Mutagenesis studies on cloned glutamate receptors have provided insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for these unique properties of kainate and domoate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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