Kainate receptors: subunits, synaptic localization and function

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1999 Jan;20(1):26-35. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(98)01286-3.


Although it is well established that kainate receptors constitute an entirely separate group of proteins from AMPA receptors, their physiological functions remain unclear. The molecular cloning of subunits that form kainate receptors and the ability to study recombinant receptors is leading to an increased understanding of their functional properties. Furthermore, the development of kainate receptor-selective agonists and antagonists over the past few years is now allowing the physiological roles of these receptors and, in some cases, specific subunits to be investigated. As a consequence, the synaptic activation of postsynaptic kainate receptors and the presence of presynaptic kainate receptors that serve to regulate excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission have been described, and will be discussed in this article by Ramesh Chittajallu, Steven Braithwaite, Vernon Clarke and Jeremy Henley.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / genetics
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / physiology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Recombinant Proteins