The role of transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs) in neurotransmission and receptor trafficking (Review)

Mol Membr Biol. 2008 May;25(4):353-62. doi: 10.1080/09687680801986480.


AMPA receptors (AMPAR) mediate the majority of fast excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS). Transmembrane AMPAR regulatory proteins (TARPs) have been identified as a novel family of proteins which act as auxiliary subunits of AMPARs to modulate AMPAR trafficking and function. The trafficking of AMPARs to regulate the number of receptors at the synapse plays a key role in various forms of synaptic plasticity, including long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). Expression of the prototypical TARP, stargazin/TARPgamma2, is ablated in the stargazer mutant mouse, an animal model of absence epilepsy and cerebellar ataxia. Studies on the stargazer mutant mouse have revealed that failure to express TARPgamma2 has widespread effects on the balance of expression of both excitatory (AMPAR) and inhibitory receptors (GABA(A) receptors, GABAR). The understanding of TARP function has implications for the future development of AMPAR potentiators, which have been shown to have therapeutic potential in both psychological and neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mutation
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, AMPA / chemistry*
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Receptors, AMPA