Assembly and plasticity of the glutamatergic postsynaptic specialization

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Feb;13(1):111-8. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(03)00008-4.


Glutamate mediates most excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain. Synaptic strength at glutamatergic synapses shows a remarkable degree of use-dependent plasticity and such modifications may represent a physiological correlate to learning and memory. Glutamate receptors and downstream enzymes are organized at synapses by cytoskeletal proteins containing multiple protein-interacting domains. Recent studies demonstrate that these 'scaffolding' proteins within the postsynaptic specialization have the capacity to promote synaptic maturation, influence synapse size, and modulate glutamate receptor function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Glutamate / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Receptors, Glutamate