Experience Strengthening Transmission by Driving AMPA Receptors into Synapses

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Science  07 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5612, pp. 1585-1588
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079886

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The mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity in the brain may depend on the AMPA subclass of glutamate receptors (AMPA-Rs). We examined the trafficking of AMPA-Rs into synapses in the developing rat barrel cortex. In vivo gene delivery was combined with in vitro recordings to show that experience drives recombinant GluR1, an AMPA-R subunit, into synapses formed between layer 4 and layer 2/3 neurons. Moreover, expression of the GluR1 cytoplasmic tail, a construct that inhibits synaptic delivery of endogenous AMPA-Rs during long-term potentiation, blocked experience-driven synaptic potentiation. In general, synaptic incorporation of AMPA-Rs in vivo conforms to rules identified in vitro and contributes to plasticity driven by natural stimuli in the mammalian brain.

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