Receptor trafficking and the plasticity of excitatory synapses

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Jun;12(3):279-86. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00329-x.


Newly discovered features of the trafficking of AMPA receptors to and from the postsynaptic membrane of excitatory synapses are now bringing the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity into focus. Recent advances, including the existence of slots, anchors, transport factors and pathways for activity-dependent control, have elucidated the role of the individual AMPA receptor subunits and their binding partners. The latest views describe how subunit type dictates the assembly of heteromeric receptors, and how these heteromers interact with the receptor trafficking machinery and synaptic anchorage factors. Moreover, phosphorylation may play an important role in receptor transport and synaptic turnover.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, AMPA / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, AMPA / chemistry
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology*
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Receptors, AMPA