Glycine induces bidirectional modifications in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated synaptic responses in hippocampal CA1 neurons

J Biol Chem. 2014 Nov 7;289(45):31200-11. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.570630. Epub 2014 Sep 17.


Glycine can persistently potentiate or depress AMPA responses through differential actions on two binding sites: NMDA and glycine receptors. Whether glycine can induce long-lasting modifications in NMDA responses, however, remains unknown. Here, we report that glycine induces long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD) of NMDA responses (Gly-LTP(NMDA) or Gly-LTD(NMDA)) in a dose-dependent manner in hippocampal CA1 neurons. These modifications of NMDA responses depend on NMDAR activation. In addition, the induction of Gly-LTP(NMDA) requires binding of glycine with NMDARs, whereas Gly-LTD(NMDA) requires that glycine bind with both sites on NMDARs and GlyRs. Moreover, activity-dependent exocytosis and endocytosis of postsynaptic NMDARs underlie glycine-induced bidirectional modification of NMDA excitatory postsynaptic currents. Thus, we conclude that glycine at different levels induces bidirectional plasticity of NMDA responses through differentially regulating NMDA receptor trafficking. Our present findings reveal important functions of the two glycine binding sites in gating the direction of synaptic plasticity in NMDA responses.

Keywords: Glycine; Glycine Receptor; Ionotropic Glutamate Receptor; LTD; LTP; Membrane Trafficking; Membrane Transport; NMDA Receptors; Synaptic Plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Biological Transport
  • Brain / metabolism
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Glycine / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • N-Methylaspartate / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glycine / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Grin3a protein, rat
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Glycine