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J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 1;31(22):8194-209. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6215-10.2011.

NMDA receptor activation suppresses microtubule growth and spine entry.

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Cell Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, 3584CH Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Dynamic microtubules are important to maintain neuronal morphology and function, but whether neuronal activity affects the organization of dynamic microtubules is unknown. Here, we show that a protocol to induce NMDA-dependent long-term depression (LTD) rapidly attenuates microtubule dynamics in primary rat hippocampal neurons, removing the microtubule-binding protein EB3 from the growing microtubule plus-ends in dendrites. This effect requires the entry of calcium and is mediated by activation of NR2B-containing NMDA-type glutamate receptor. The rapid NMDA effect is followed by a second, more prolonged response, during which EB3 accumulates along MAP2-positive microtubule bundles in the dendritic shaft. MAP2 is both required and sufficient for this activity-dependent redistribution of EB3. Importantly, NMDA receptor activation suppresses microtubule entry in dendritic spines, whereas overexpression of EB3-GFP prevents NMDA-induced spine shrinkage. These results suggest that short-lasting and long-lasting changes in dendritic microtubule dynamics are important determinants for NMDA-induced LTD.

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