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Neuroscience. 1993 Jun;54(4):859-71.

N-methyl-D-aspartate stimulates the dephosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein 2 and potentiates excitatory synaptic pathways in the rat hippocampus.

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Departamento de Fisiología y Biofísica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.


We have studied the effect of brief (50-150 s) applications of N-methyl-D-aspartate (10-100 microM) on the phosphorylated state of the microtubule-associated protein 2 in slices of rat hippocampus. Following a similar experimental protocol we also studied the pattern of excitatory postsynaptic potentials intracellularly recorded in CA1 pyramidal cells elicited by stimulation of the Schaffer collateral-commissural pathway. N-Methyl-D-aspartate treatment produced a marked and specific dephosphorylation of the cytoskeletal microtubule-associated protein 2, which was not due to enhanced proteolytic activity. Dephosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein 2 affects mainly the tubulin-binding domain of the molecule and seems to be a consequence of the activation of the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase calcineurin, as it is partially inhibited by calmidazolium but not by okadaic acid. A few minutes after N-methyl-D-aspartate treatment we observed a 23 +/- 17% increase in the amplitude of the monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potential recorded in the cells and the appearance of a large polysynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potential. Both effects lasted for several tens of minutes. The late polysynaptic potential was not observed when the CA3 and CA1 subfields were surgically separated. Our results indicate that the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activation leads to the dephosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein 2 via a Ca2+/calmodulin phosphatase, probably calcineurine. This may, in turn, participate in the potentiation of synaptic efficacy.

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