Trafficking of NMDA receptors

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2003;43:335-58. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.43.100901.135803. Epub 2002 Jan 10.


The NMDA receptor (NMDAR) plays a central role in the function of excitatory synapses. Recent studies have provided interesting insights into several aspects of the trafficking of this receptor in neurons. The NMDAR is not a static resident of the synapse. Rather, the number and composition of synaptic NMDARs can be modulated by several factors. The interaction of PDZ proteins, generally thought to occur at the synapse, appears to occur early in the secretory pathway; this interaction may play a role in the assembly of the receptor complex and its exit from the endoplasmic reticulum. This review addresses recent advances in our understanding of NMDAR trafficking and its synaptic delivery and maintenance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate