Fast synaptic current at most excitatory synapses in the brain is carried by AMPA and NMDA subtypes of ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPARs and NMDARs). During development there is an increase in the ratio of AMPAR- to NMDAR-mediated current at these synapses. Recent studies indicate that NMDAR signaling early in development negatively regulates AMPAR expression and function at multiple levels, which likely accounts for the small AMPAR current at developing synapses. This contrasts with the positive role of NMDAR signaling in recruiting AMPARs to synapses during long-term potentiation in the adult brain. Thus, NMDARs exert differential effects on the recruitment of AMPA receptors to synapses depending on the developmental state of the neural circuit.