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Multiple Routes for Glutamate Receptor Trafficking: Surface Diffusion and Membrane Traffic Cooperate to Bring Receptors to Synapses

Trafficking of glutamate receptors into and out of synapses is critically involved in the plasticity of excitatory synaptic transmission. Endocytosis and exocytosis of receptors have initially been thought to account alone for this trafficking. However, membrane proteins also traffic through surface lateral diffusion in the plasma membrane. We describe developments in electrophysiological and optical approaches that have allowed for the real-time measurement of glutamate receptor surface trafficking in live neurons. These include (i) specific imaging of surface receptors using a pH-sensitive fluorescent protein; (ii) design of a photoactivable drug to locally inactivate surface receptors and monitor electrophysiologically their recovery; and (iii) application of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to directly track the movement of individual surface receptors with nanometer resolution inside and outside synapses. Together, these approaches have demonstrated that glutamate receptors diffuse at high rates in the neuronal membrane and suggest a key role for surface diffusion in the regulation of receptor numbers at synapses.

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Classifications


Resource Type: Bibliography, Diagram, Illustration, Journal article/Issue, Review
Audience Level: Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program)

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Laurent Cognet of Centre de Physique Moleculaire Optique et Hertzienne, CNRS and Universite Bordeaux, Laurent Groc of Physiologie Cellulaire de la Synapse, CNRS and Universite Bordeaux, Brahim Lounis of Centre de Physique Moleculaire Optique et Hertzienne, CNRS and Universite Bordeaux, Daniel Choquet of Physiologie Cellulaire de la Synapse, CNRS and Universite Bordeaux
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Format: application/pdf, image/gif, image/jpeg, text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: Yes

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