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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Jul;22(5):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

New insights in endosomal dynamics and AMPA receptor trafficking.

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Department of Cell Biology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The trafficking mechanisms that control the density of synaptic AMPA-type glutamate receptors have received significant attention because of their importance for regulating excitatory synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. AMPA receptors are synthesized in the neuronal cell body and reach their postsynaptic targets after a complex journey involving multiple transport steps along different cytoskeleton structures and through various stages of the endocytic pathway. Dendritic spines are important sites for AMPA receptor trafficking and contain the basic components of endosomal recycling. On induction of synaptic plasticity, internalized AMPA receptors undergo endosomal sorting and cycle through early endosomes and recycling endosomes back to the plasma membrane (model for long-term potentiation) or target for degradation to the lysosomes (model for long-term depression). Exciting new studies now provide insight in actin-mediated processes that controls endosomal tubule formation and receptor sorting. This review describes the path of AMPA receptor internalization up to sites of recycling and summarizes recent studies on actin-mediated endosomal receptor sorting.

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