AMPA-Type Glutamate Receptor Conductance Changes and Plasticity: Still a Lot of Noise.


Departments of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Neurology and Otolaryngology, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA. [Email]


Twenty years ago, we reported from the Collingridge Lab that a single-channel conductance increase through α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)-type ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPARs) could mediate one form of plasticity associated with long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus (Benke et al., Nature 395:793-797, 1998). Revealed through peak-scaled non-stationary fluctuation analysis (PS-NSFA, also known as noise analysis), this component of LTP could be exclusively mediated by direct increases in channel conductance or by increases in the number of high conductance synaptic AMPARs. Re-evaluation of our original data in the light of the molecular details regarding AMPARs, conductance changes and plasticity suggests that insertion of high-conductance GluA1 homomers can account for our initial findings. Any potential cost associated with manufacture or trafficking of new receptors could be mitigated if pre-existing synaptic AMPARs also undergo a modest conductance change. The literature suggests that the presence of high conductance AMPARs and/or GluA1 homomers confers an unstable synaptic state, suggesting state transitions. An experimental paradigm is proposed to differentiate these possibilities. Validation of this state diagram could provide insight into development, disease pathogenesis and treatment.


AMPA receptor,Conductance,Glutamate,LTP,Phosphorylation,Rectification,