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Neuroscience. 2011 Mar 31;178:13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.01.026. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Calpain-mediated regulation of stargazin in adult rat brain.

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Neuroscience Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2520, USA.


Changes in AMPA receptors have been proposed to underlie changes in synaptic efficacy in hippocampus and other brain structures. Calpain activation has also been discussed as a potential mechanism to produce lasting modifications of synaptic structure and function. Stargazin is a member of the family of transmembrane AMPA receptor associated proteins (TARPs), which participates in trafficking of AMPA receptors and regulates their kinetic properties. We report here that preincubation of thin (20 μm) frozen rat brain sections with calcium changes the immunological properties of stargazin, an effect totally blocked by a calpain inhibitor. Immunocytochemistry indicates that in situ calpain activation produces a decreased immunoreactivity for stargazin in the neuropil throughout the brain, and Western blots confirmed that a similar treatment decreased stargazin levels. Interestingly, the same treatment did not modify the immunoreactivity for another TARP member, γ-8, although it increased immunoreactivity in cell bodies in hippocampus, an effect that was not blocked by calpain inhibition. These results strongly suggest the involvement of calpain in the regulation of AMPA receptor targeting and function through truncation of stargazin.

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