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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 Apr 29;358(1432):657-66.

Kainate receptors and the induction of mossy fibre long-term potentiation.

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MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


There is intense interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. Significant progress in our understanding of LTP has followed from studies of glutamate receptors, of which there are four main subtypes (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA), N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), mGlu and kainate). This article summarizes the evidence that the kainate subtype of glutamate receptor is an important trigger for the induction of LTP at mossy fibre synapses in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. The pharmacology of the first selective kainate receptor antagonists, in particular the GLU(K5) subunit selective antagonist LY382884, is described. LY382884 selectively blocks the induction of mossy fibre LTP, in response to a variety of different high-frequency stimulation protocols. This antagonist also inhibits the pronounced synaptic facilitation of mossy fibre transmission that occurs during high-frequency stimulation. These effects are attributed to the presence of presynaptic GLU(K5)-subunit-containing kainate receptors at mossy fibre synapses. Differences in kainate receptor-dependent synaptic facilitation of AMPA and NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission are described. These data are discussed in the context of earlier reports that glutamate receptors are not involved in mossy fibre LTP and more recent experiments using kainate receptor knockout mice, that argue for the involvement of GLU(K6) but not GLU(K5) kainate receptor subunits. We conclude that activation of presynaptic GLU(K5)-containing kainate receptors is an important trigger for the induction of mossy fibre LTP in the hippocampus.

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