Bidirectional synaptic plasticity regulated by phosphorylation of stargazin-like TARPs

Neuron. 2005 Jan 20;45(2):269-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.01.009.


Synaptic plasticity involves protein phosphorylation cascades that alter the density of AMPA-type glutamate receptors at excitatory synapses; however, the crucial phosphorylated substrates remain uncertain. Here, we show that the AMPA receptor-associated protein stargazin is quantitatively phosphorylated and that stargazin phosphorylation promotes synaptic trafficking of AMPA receptors. Synaptic NMDA receptor activity can induce both stargazin phosphorylation, via activation of CaMKII and PKC, and stargazin dephosphorylation, by activation of PP1 downstream of PP2B. At hippocampal synapses, long-term potentiation and long-term depression require stargazin phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively. These results establish stargazin as a critical substrate in the bidirectional control of synaptic strength, which is thought to underlie aspects of learning and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • CHO Cells
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Cricetinae
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Cacng2 protein, rat
  • Calcium Channels
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases