PerspectiveNeuroscience

AMPA Receptors—Another Twist?

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Science  19 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5972, pp. 1463-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187920

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Summary

Neurons in the brain can alter their responsiveness to signals from other neurons, a flexibility that contributes to the richness of neuronal communication and underlies the fundamental processes of information transfer, learning, and memory. The most important receptive elements that allow neurons to “listen” to one another are ligand-gated transmembrane ion channels, and those that enable fast excitatory communication belong to the AMPA receptor subtype. When the neurotransmitter glutamate is released from a presynaptic neuron, it activates postsynaptic AMPA receptors, allowing cations to enter, causing depolarization that triggers an action potential in the postsynaptic neuron. On page 1518 of this issue, von Engelhardt et al. (1) use a proteomic approach to identify an auxiliary protein that regulates AMPA receptor activity.