MAGI-1 modulates AMPA receptor synaptic localization and behavioral plasticity in response to prior experience

PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4613. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004613. Epub 2009 Feb 26.


It is well established that the efficacy of synaptic connections can be rapidly modified by neural activity, yet how the environment and prior experience modulate such synaptic and behavioral plasticity is only beginning to be understood. Here we show in C. elegans that the broadly conserved scaffolding molecule MAGI-1 is required for the plasticity observed in a glutamatergic circuit. This mechanosensory circuit mediates reversals in locomotion in response to touch stimulation, and the AMPA-type receptor (AMPAR) subunits GLR-1 and GLR-2, which are required for reversal behavior, are localized to ventral cord synapses in this circuit. We find that animals modulate GLR-1 and GLR-2 localization in response to prior mechanosensory stimulation; a specific isoform of MAGI-1 (MAGI-1L) is critical for this modulation. We show that MAGI-1L interacts with AMPARs through the intracellular domain of the GLR-2 subunit, which is required for the modulation of AMPAR synaptic localization by mechanical stimulation. In addition, mutations that prevent the ubiquitination of GLR-1 prevent the decrease in AMPAR localization observed in previously stimulated magi-1 mutants. Finally, we find that previously-stimulated animals later habituate to subsequent mechanostimulation more rapidly compared to animals initially reared without mechanical stimulation; MAGI-1L, GLR-1, and GLR-2 are required for this change in habituation kinetics. Our findings demonstrate that prior experience can cause long-term alterations in both behavioral plasticity and AMPAR localization at synapses in an intact animal, and indicate a new, direct role for MAGI/S-SCAM proteins in modulating AMPAR localization and function in the wake of variable sensory experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / physiology*
  • Guanylate Kinases / physiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • GLR-2 protein, C elegans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • glr-1 protein, C elegans
  • Guanylate Kinases
  • MAGI-1 protein, C elegans