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Biochem Soc Trans. 2006 Nov;34(Pt 5):949-51.

Synaptic plasticity of kainate receptors.

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


Synaptic plasticity of ionotropic glutamate receptors has been extensively studied with a particular focus on the role played by NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the induction of synaptic plasticity and the subsequent movement of AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid) receptors. The third subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptor, kainate receptors, has not been studied to the same extent, but recent evidence shows that these receptors also exhibit synaptic plasticity in response to activity. There is also a growing body of data on the mechanisms underlying kainate receptor trafficking and the proteins they interact with. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on this topic, focusing on the evidence for the removal or insertion of functional kainate receptors in response to synaptic activity and the cellular mechanisms that underlie this regulation of neuronal kainate receptor function.

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