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Neuron. 2005 Jan 20;45(2):269-77.

Bidirectional synaptic plasticity regulated by phosphorylation of stargazin-like TARPs.

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Department of Physiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Synaptic plasticity involves protein phosphorylation cascades that alter the density of AMPA-type glutamate receptors at excitatory synapses; however, the crucial phosphorylated substrates remain uncertain. Here, we show that the AMPA receptor-associated protein stargazin is quantitatively phosphorylated and that stargazin phosphorylation promotes synaptic trafficking of AMPA receptors. Synaptic NMDA receptor activity can induce both stargazin phosphorylation, via activation of CaMKII and PKC, and stargazin dephosphorylation, by activation of PP1 downstream of PP2B. At hippocampal synapses, long-term potentiation and long-term depression require stargazin phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively. These results establish stargazin as a critical substrate in the bidirectional control of synaptic strength, which is thought to underlie aspects of learning and memory.

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