Neuronal enriched endosomal protein of 21 kDa colocalizes with glutamate receptor subunit GLUR2/3 at the postsynaptic membrane

Neuroscience. 2009 Jan 12;158(1):96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.11.030. Epub 2008 Nov 27.


Functional evidence suggests that neuronal enriched endosomal protein of 21 kDa (NEEP21) takes part in facilitating transport of AMPA receptors (AMPAR) in the synapse. To explore the anatomical basis for a role in this synaptic trafficking, we investigated the ultrastructural localization of NEEP21 in rodent brain. Using immunogold electron microscopy, we show that NEEP21 is colocalized with the AMPAR subunits GluR2/3 in postsynaptic spines. Quantitative analysis of gold particle distribution along an axis perpendicular to the postsynaptic specialization indicated that NEEP21 occurs in the postsynaptic membrane but also in the interior of the spines. NEEP21 positive endosomes/multivesicular bodies were found throughout cell bodies and dendrites. In light microscopical preparations, the NEEP21 antibody produced a labeling pattern in the neocortex, hippocampus and cerebellum that mimicked that of GluR2/3 and not that of GluR1 or 4. Our findings are consistent with a role for NEEP21 in facilitating vesicular transport of GluR2 between intracellular compartments and the postsynaptic plasma membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Spines / ultrastructure
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Endosomes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nsg1 protein, rat
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 3
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 2