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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jul;12(7):897-904. doi: 10.1038/nn.2338. Epub 2009 May 31.

Brain extracellular matrix affects AMPA receptor lateral mobility and short-term synaptic plasticity.

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Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany.


Many synapses in the mature CNS are wrapped by a dense extracellular matrix (ECM). Using single-particle tracking and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, we found that this net-like ECM formed surface compartments on rat primary neurons that acted as lateral diffusion barriers for AMPA-type glutamate receptors. Enzymatic removal of the ECM increased extrasynaptic receptor diffusion and the exchange of synaptic AMPA receptors. Whole-cell patch-clamp recording revealed an increased paired-pulse ratio as a functional consequence of ECM removal. These results suggest that the surface compartments formed by the ECM hinder lateral diffusion of AMPA receptors and may therefore modulate short-term synaptic plasticity.

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