GABA(A) receptor trafficking and its role in the dynamic modulation of neuronal inhibition

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 May;9(5):331-43. doi: 10.1038/nrn2370.


GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) type A receptors (GABA(A)Rs) mediate most fast synaptic inhibition in the mammalian brain, controlling activity at both the network and the cellular levels. The diverse functions of GABA in the CNS are matched not just by the heterogeneity of GABA(A)Rs, but also by the complex trafficking mechanisms and protein-protein interactions that generate and maintain an appropriate receptor cell-surface localization. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in our understanding of the dynamic regulation of GABA(A)R composition, trafficking to and from the neuronal surface, and lateral movement of receptors between synaptic and extrasynaptic locations. Finally, we highlight a number of neurological disorders, including epilepsy and schizophrenia, in which alterations in GABA(A)R trafficking occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Receptors, GABA-A