SUMOylation and phosphorylation of GluK2 regulate kainate receptor trafficking and synaptic plasticity

Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jun;15(6):845-52. doi: 10.1038/nn.3089.


Phosphorylation or SUMOylation of the kainate receptor (KAR) subunit GluK2 have both individually been shown to regulate KAR surface expression. However, it is unknown whether phosphorylation and SUMOylation of GluK2 are important for activity-dependent KAR synaptic plasticity. We found that protein kinase C–mediated phosphorylation of GluK2 at serine 868 promotes GluK2 SUMOylation at lysine 886 and that both of these events are necessary for the internalization of GluK2-containing KARs that occurs during long-term depression of KAR-mediated synaptic transmission at rat hippocampal mossy fiber synapses. Conversely, phosphorylation of GluK2 at serine 868 in the absence of SUMOylation led to an increase in KAR surface expression by facilitating receptor recycling between endosomal compartments and the plasma membrane. Our results suggest a role for the dynamic control of synaptic SUMOylation in the regulation of KAR synaptic transmission and plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • GluK2 Kainate Receptor
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / metabolism*
  • Sumoylation*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Transfection


  • Receptors, Kainic Acid