Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 1987 Feb 5-11;325(6104):525-8.

Multiple-conductance channels activated by excitatory amino acids in cerebellar neurons.


In the mammalian central nervous system amino acids such as L-glutamate and L-aspartate are thought to act as fast synaptic transmitters. It has been suggested that at least three pharmacologically-distinguishable types of glutamate receptor occur in central neurons and that these are selectively activated by the glutamate analogues N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), quisqualate and kainate. These three receptor types would be expected to open ion channels with different conductances. Hence if agonists produce similar channel conductances this would suggest they are acting on the same receptor. Another possibility is suggested by experiments on spinal neurons, where GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) and glycine appear to open different sub-conductance levels of one class of channel while acting on different receptors. By analogy, several types of glutamate receptor could also be linked to a single type of channel with several sub-conductance states. We have examined these possibilities in cerebellar neurons by analysing the single-channel currents activated by L-glutamate, L-aspartate, NMDA, quisqualate and kainate in excised membrane patches. All of these agonists are capable of opening channels with at least five different conductance levels, the largest being about 45-50 pS. NMDA predominantly activated conductance levels above 30 pS while quisqualate and kainate mainly activated ones below 20 pS. The presence of clear transitions between levels favours the idea that the five main levels are all sub-states of the same type of channel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center