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Neuron. 2002 Jul 3;35(1):107-20.

Ubiquitin and AP180 regulate the abundance of GLR-1 glutamate receptors at postsynaptic elements in C. elegans.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Regulated delivery and removal of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) glutamate receptors (GluRs) from postsynaptic elements has been proposed as a mechanism for regulating synaptic strength. Here we test the role of ubiquitin in regulating synapses that contain a C. elegans GluR, GLR-1. GLR-1 receptors were ubiquitinated in vivo. Mutations that decreased ubiquitination of GLR-1 increased the abundance of GLR-1 at synapses and altered locomotion behavior in a manner that is consistent with increased synaptic strength. By contrast, overexpression of ubiquitin decreased the abundance of GLR-1 at synapses and decreased the density of GLR-1-containing synapses, and these effects were prevented by mutations in the unc-11 gene, which encodes a clathrin adaptin protein (AP180). These results suggest that ubiquitination of GLR-1 receptors regulates synaptic strength and the formation or stability of GLR-1-containing synapses.

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