Auxiliary Subunits Assist AMPA-Type Glutamate Receptors

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Science  03 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5765, pp. 1253-1256
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123339

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Glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, acts primarily on two types of ionotropic receptors: α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Work over the past decade indicates that regulated changes in the number of synaptic AMPA receptors may serve as a mechanism for information storage. Recent studies demonstrate that a family of small transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs) controls both AMPA receptor trafficking and channel gating. TARPs provide the first example of auxiliary subunits of ionotropic receptors. Here we review the pivotal role that TARPs play in the life cycle of AMPA receptors.

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