Monday, June 8, 2009


Just in case you didn't know:

AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) receptors are ligand-gated ion channels belonging to the family of ionotropic glutamate receptors. They play an essential role in fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the CNS of vertebrates. Their activity-dependent directed transport and fast turnover at the plasma membrane contribute to synaptic plasticity and require numerous trafficking and scaffolding proteins. Participating in the delivery and synaptic localization of AMPA receptors is a recently discovered protein family named transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs). In addition to their function in trafficking, TARPs alter the biophysical properties of AMPA receptors in remarkable ways and thus contribute significantly to the functional plasticity of the synapse. The study of TARP-mediated functional plasticity of AMPA receptors, which has emerged only recently as a hot new field, promises to yield valuable insight into the regulation of neuronal communication.

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