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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 2;101(9):3190-5. Epub 2004 Feb 23.

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis is required for compensatory regulation of GLR-1 glutamate receptors after activity blockade.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Chronic changes in neural activity trigger a variety of compensatory homeostatic mechanisms by which neurons maintain a normal level of synaptic input. Here we show that chronic activity blockade triggers a compensatory change in the abundance of GLR-1, a Caenorhabditis elegans glutamate receptor. In mutants lacking a voltage-dependent calcium channel (unc-2) or a vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT; eat-4), the abundance of GLR-1 in the ventral nerve cord was increased. Similarly, the amplitude of glutamate-evoked currents in ventral cord interneurons was increased in eat-4 VGLUT mutants compared with wild-type controls. The effects of eat-4 VGLUT mutations on GLR-1 abundance in the ventral cord were eliminated in double mutants lacking both the clathrin adaptin protein unc-11 AP180 and eat-4 VGLUT. In contrast, mutations that decreased ubiquitination of GLR-1 did not prevent increased ventral cord abundance of GLR-1 in eat-4 VGLUT mutants. Taken together, our results suggest that GLR-1 is regulated in a homeostatic manner and that this effect depends on clathrin-mediated endocytosis but does not require ubiquitination of GLR-1.

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