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J Neurosci. 2011 May 4;31(18):6928-38. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6271-10.2011.

Cornichon-2 modulates AMPA receptor-transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory protein assembly to dictate gating and pharmacology.

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Neuroscience Discovery Research, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285, USA.


Neuronal AMPA receptor complexes comprise a tetramer of GluA pore-forming subunits as well as accessory components, including transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs) and cornichon-2/3 (CNIH-2/3). The mechanisms that control AMPA receptor complex assembly remain unclear. AMPA receptor responses in neurons differ from those in cell lines transfected with GluA plus TARPs γ-8 or γ-7, which show unusual resensitization kinetics and non-native AMPA receptor pharmacologies. Using tandem GluA/TARP constructs to constrain stoichiometry, we show here that these peculiar kinetic and pharmacological signatures occur in channels with four TARP subunits per complex. Reducing the number of TARPs per complex produces AMPA receptors with neuron-like kinetics and pharmacologies, suggesting a neuronal mechanism controls GluA/TARP assembly. Importantly, we find that coexpression of CNIH-2 with GluA/TARP complexes reduces TARP stoichiometry within AMPA receptors. In both rat and mouse hippocampal neurons, CNIH-2 also associates with AMPA receptors on the neuronal surface in a γ-8-dependent manner to dictate receptor pharmacology. In the cerebellum, however, CNIH-2 expressed in Purkinje neurons does not reach the neuronal surface. In concordance, stargazer Purkinje neurons, which express CNIH-2 and γ-7, display AMPA receptor kinetics/pharmacologies that can only be recapitulated recombinantly by a low γ-7/GluA stoichiometry. Together, these data suggest that CNIH-2 modulates neuronal AMPA receptor auxiliary subunit assembly by regulating the number of TARPs within an AMPA receptor complex to modulate receptor gating and pharmacology.

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