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Cell. 2002 Aug 23;110(4):443-55.

Ras and Rap control AMPA receptor trafficking during synaptic plasticity.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, NY 11724, USA.


Recent studies show that AMPA receptor (-R) trafficking is important in synaptic plasticity. However, the signaling controlling this trafficking is poorly understood. Small GTPases have diverse neuronal functions and their perturbation is responsible for several mental disorders. Here, we examine the small GTPases Ras and Rap in the postsynaptic signaling underlying synaptic plasticity. We show that Ras relays the NMDA-R and CaMKII signaling that drives synaptic delivery of AMPA-Rs during long-term potentiation. In contrast, Rap mediates NMDA-R-dependent removal of synaptic AMPA-Rs that occurs during long-term depression. Ras and Rap exert their effects on AMPA-Rs that contain different subunit composition. Thus, Ras and Rap, whose activity can be controlled by postsynaptic enzymes, serve as independent regulators for potentiating and depressing central synapses.

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