AMPA receptor activation controls type I metabotropic glutamate receptor signalling via a tyrosine kinase at parallel fibre-Purkinje cell synapses

J Physiol. 2010 Aug 15;588(Pt 16):3063-74. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.191080. Epub 2010 Jul 5.


Metabotropic glutamate receptors type 1 (mGluR1s) and ionotropic AMPA receptors (AMPARs) are colocalized at parallel fibre (PF) to Purkinje cell synapses of the cerebellum. Single stimulation of PFs activates fast AMPAR excitatory postsynaptic currents, whereas the activation of mGluR1s requires burst stimulation. mGluR1s signal through several pathways in Purkinje cells and the most prominent is the activation of a slow EPSC (sEPSC). To separate the two synaptic currents, studies of the sEPSC have commonly been performed in the presence of AMPA/KA receptor antagonists. We show here in rat cerebellar slices that inhibition of the fast EPSC by AMPAR antagonists strongly and selectively potentiates the mGluR1 sEPSC, showing a negative regulation of mGluR1 by AMPAR. This effect is observed with low concentrations of NBQX (300 nM to 1 microM), with the selective AMPAR antagonist GYKI 53655 and also with gamma-DGG, a low affinity glutamate receptor antagonist. When photorelease of glutamate from MNI-glutamate was used to study the postsynaptic responses in isolation, AMPAR inhibition produced a similar potentiation of the mGluR1 sEPSC, showing that the interaction is postsynaptic. Finally, perfusion of the postsynaptic cell with PP1, an inhibitor of src-family tyrosine kinase, increased the amplitude of the mGluR1 sEPSC and occluded the effect of AMPAR inhibition. Thus, at PF to Purkinje cell synapses, AMPAR activation inhibits the mGluR1 sEPSC via activation of a src-family tyrosine kinase. Consequently mGluR1 signalling will be more sensitive to spillover of glutamate than to local synaptic release. Furthermore, it will be enhanced at silent PF synapses which are the majority in Purkinje cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / enzymology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Purkinje Cells / drug effects
  • Purkinje Cells / enzymology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / enzymology*
  • Time Factors
  • src-Family Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • 4-methoxy-7-nitroindolinyl-glutamate
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Glutamates
  • Indoles
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1
  • src-Family Kinases