AMPA Receptors in Health

Glutamate receptors contribute to processes of normal development, synaptic plasticity, learning, and excitatory neurotransmission of humans, nonhuman primates, rodents, Drosophila species (fruit fly), and C. elegans (roundworm). AMPA receptors participate with NMDA receptors in the coordination of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), which are strongly suspected to subserve memory functions, including working memory, and govern experience-dependent synaptic plasticity by the rapid cycling of AMPA receptors into and out of the cell membrane via complex protein-protein interaction mechanisms (Luscher, Nicoll, Malenka, & Muller, 2000) Glutamate neurons project from most cerebral cortical regions to other areas of cortex, the basal ganglia, the brain stem ventral tegmental area, and other sites. This strongly suggests powerful local and global organizational and regulatory functions for the AMPA and other glutamate receptor subtypes in the brain.

to N-terminal

Flop region

binding domain to N-terminal

Flop region

binding domain

to M4

to M1 from M3

Binding domain

Figure 2. Crystal structure of the GluR2 subunit.

Source: Labels adapted with permission from Dingledine et al. (1999); protein structure 1GR2 from Protein Data Bank, Brookhaven, CT using Chime 2.2.

Kainate molecule docked in binding site

Binding domain to M4

to M1 from M3

Figure 2. Crystal structure of the GluR2 subunit.

Source: Labels adapted with permission from Dingledine et al. (1999); protein structure 1GR2 from Protein Data Bank, Brookhaven, CT using Chime 2.2.

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