Subunit-specific surface mobility of differentially labeled AMPA receptor subunits

Eur J Cell Biol. 2008 Oct;87(10):763-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2008.02.014. Epub 2008 Jun 10.


Lateral mobility of AMPA-type glutamate receptors as well as their trafficking between plasma membrane and intracellular compartments are major mechanisms for the regulation of synaptic plasticity. Here we applied a recently established labeling technique in combination with lentiviral expression in hippocampal neurons to label individual ACP-tagged AMPA receptor subunits specifically at the surface of neurons. We show that this technique allows the differential labeling of two receptor subunits on the same cell. Moreover, these subunits are integrated into heteromeric receptors together with endogenous subunits, and these labeled receptors are targeted to active synapses. Sequential labeling experiments indicate that there is basal surface insertion of GluR1, GluR2 and GluR3, and that this insertion is strongly increased following potassium depolarization. Moreover, we found that ACP-labeled GluR3 shows the highest surface mobility among GluR1, GluR2, and GluR3. In double-infected neurons the diffusion coefficient of labeled GluR2 at the surface of living neurons is significantly higher in GluR2/GluR3-infected neurons compared to GluR1/GluR2-infected neurons suggesting a higher mobility of GluR2/3 receptors compared to GluR1/2 receptors. These results indicate that surface mobility is regulated by different subunit compositions of AMPA receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Endocytosis
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / methods
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lentivirus / genetics
  • Lentivirus / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Subunits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 3
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 2