[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that pharmacological activation of presynaptic kainate receptors at glutamatergic synapses facilitates or depresses transmission in a dose-dependent manner. However, the only synaptically activated kainate autoreceptor described to date is facilitatory. Here, we describe a kainate autoreceptor that depresses synaptic transmission. This autoreceptor is present at developing thalamocortical synapses in the barrel cortex, specifically regulates transmission at frequencies corresponding to those observed in vivo during whisker activation, and is developmentally down regulated during the first postnatal week. This receptor may, therefore, limit the transfer of high-frequency activity to the developing cortex, the loss of which mechanism may be important for the maturation of sensory processing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kainate (KA) receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) exhibit slow kinetics at the great majority of synapses. However, native or heterologously expressed KA receptors exhibit rapid kinetics in response to agonist application. One possibility to explain this discrepancy is that KA receptors are extrasynaptic and sense glutamate diffusing from the synaptic cleft. We investigated this by studying the effect of three manipulations that change glutamate clearance on evoked KA EPSCs at thalamocortical synapses. First, we used high-frequency stimulation to increase extrasynaptic glutamate levels. This caused an apparent increase in the relative contribution of the KA EPSC to transmission and slowed the decay kinetics. However, scaling and summing the EPSC evoked at low frequency reproduced this, demonstrating that the effect was due to postsynaptic summation of KA EPSCs. Second, we applied inhibitors of high-affinity glutamate transport. This caused a depression in both AMPA and KA EPSC amplitude due to the activation of a presynaptic glutamatergic autoreceptor. However, transport inhibitors had no selective effect on the amplitude or kinetics of the KA EPSC. Third, to increase glutamate clearance, we raised temperature during recordings. This shortened the decay of both the AMPA and KA components and increased their amplitudes, but this effect was the same for both. Therefore these data provide evidence against glutamate diffusion out of the synaptic cleft as the mechanism for the slow kinetics of KA EPSCs. Other possibilities such as interactions of KA receptors with other proteins or novel properties of native synaptic heteromeric receptors are required to explain the slow kinetics.
Journal of Neurophysiology 10/2001; 86(3):1139-48. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High affinity glutamate transport plays an important role in maintaining a low extracellular glutamate concentration in the CNS. Excitotoxicity due to a loss of glutamate transporter function has been implicated in disease processes such as stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We studied the effects of glutamate transport inhibitors on thalamocortical synapses at developing (postnatal day 3-8) layer IV neurons in the barrel cortex using the thalamocortical slice preparation and whole-cell recordings. Inhibition of glutamate transport by D,L-threo-beta-hydroxyaspartate (THA), a combination of THA and dihydrokainate (DHK), or by L-trans-pyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylate (tPDC), caused a reversible blockade of AMPA and kainate receptor-mediated dual component excitatory postsynaptic currents (AMPA/KA EPSCs). This effect was not blocked by cyclothiazide (CTZ) indicating that is was not due to desensitisation of AMPARs. Under conditions in which NMDA receptors were unblocked the transport inhibitors caused the massive activation of NMDA receptors leading to the rapid loss of recordings. Previous studies using these transport inhibitors on brain slices from older animals reported no or only modest effects on synaptic transmission. Therefore the data in the present study suggest that neurons in the developing neocortex are particularly sensitive to glutamate transporter function. Furthermore the effects of transport inhibition are dependent upon whether neurons are sufficiently depolarised to relieve the voltage-dependent block of NMDA receptors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether the interaction between the N-ethyl-maleimide-sensitive fusion protein (NSF) and the AMPA receptor (AMPAR) subunit GluR2 is involved in synaptic plasticity in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Blockade of the NSF-GluR2 interaction by a specific peptide (pep2m) introduced into neurons prevented homosynaptic, de novo long-term depression (LTD). Moreover, saturation of LTD prevented the pep2m-induced reduction in AMPAR-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs). Minimal stimulation experiments indicated that both pep2m action and LTD were due to changes in quantal size and quantal content but were not associated with changes in AMPAR single-channel conductance or EPSC kinetics. These results suggest that there is a pool of AMPARs dependent on the NSF-GluR2 interaction and that LTD expression involves the removal of these receptors from synapses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most of the fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the mammalian brain is mediated by ionotrophic glutamate receptors, of which there are three subtypes: AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate), NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) and kainate. Although kainate-receptor subunits (GluR5-7, KA1 and 2) are widely expressed in the mammalian central nervous system, little is known about their function. The development of pharmacological agents that distinguish between AMPA and kainate receptors has now allowed the functions of kainate receptors to be investigated. The modulation of synaptic transmission by kainate receptors and their synaptic activation in a variety of brain regions have been reported. The expression of kainate receptor subunits is developmentally regulated but their role in plasticity and development is unknown. Here we show that developing thalamocortical synapses express postsynaptic kainate receptors as well as AMPA receptors; however, the two receptor subtypes do not colocalize. During the critical period for experience-dependent plasticity, the kainate-receptor contribution to transmission decreases; a similar decrease occurs when long-term potentiation is induced in vitro. This indicates that during development there is activity-dependent regulation of the expression of kainate receptors at thalamocortical synapses.