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J Neurosci. 2006 May 10;26(19):5028-36.

State-dependent AMPA receptor trafficking in the mammalian retina.

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Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


The rapid cycling of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) at the membrane maintains synaptic transmission at a number of CNS synapses and may play a role in several forms of synaptic plasticity. It is unclear, however, how prevalent the trafficking of AMPARs is in the CNS, particularly at synapses not known to exhibit activity-dependent plasticity. Because trafficking is regulated by basal synaptic activity, a question also remains as to how receptor trafficking is modulated at synapses subject to different patterns of synaptic activation. We have investigated whether trafficking of AMPARs occurs in retinal neurons, which are subject to tonic glutamate release. We find two distinct states of AMPAR trafficking in ON ganglion cells. Light adaptation serves to stabilize AMPARs in a noncycling mode. However, dark adaptation for as little as 8 h triggers a switch to a second state of trafficking characterized by rapid cycling. We provide evidence that the activation of AMPARs is critical for switching between cycling and noncycling states. The induction of cycling further appears to be modulated by changes in the function of glutamate receptor 2/3-interacting proteins. Our results suggest that there is a strong link between synaptic activity and AMPAR trafficking in retinal neurons. These results further suggest the existence of a previously unknown form of activity-dependent plasticity in the retina that may be regulated in the course of a normal light/dark cycle.

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