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Cell Calcium. 2007 Jul;42(1):41-57. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Morphological constraints on calcium dependent glutamate receptor trafficking into individual dendritic spine.

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Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Glutamate receptor trafficking into dendritic spines is a pivotal step in synaptic plasticity, yet the relevance of plasticity-producing rise of [Ca2+]i and of spine morphology to subsequent delivery of glutamate receptors into dendritic spine heads are still not well understood. Following chemical induction of LTP, an increase in eGFP-GluR1 fluorescence in short but not long dendritic spines of cultured hippocampal neurons was found. Repeated flash photolysis of caged calcium, which produced a transient rise of [Ca2+]i inside spine heads caused a selective, actin and protein synthesis dependent increase of eGFP-GluR1 in these spines. Strikingly, GluR1 increase was correlated with the ability of a calcium transient generated in the spine head to diffuse into the parent dendrite, and inversely correlated with the length of the spine: short spines were more likely to raise GluR1 than long ones. These observations link, for the first time, calcium transients in dendritic spines with spine morphology and its ability to undergo synaptic plasticity.

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