Glutamate-induced AMPA receptor desensitization increases their mobility and modulates short-term plasticity through unbinding from Stargazin

Neuron. 2015 Feb 18;85(4):787-803. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.012. Epub 2015 Feb 5.


Short-term plasticity of AMPAR currents during high-frequency stimulation depends not only on presynaptic transmitter release and postsynaptic AMPAR recovery from desensitization, but also on fast AMPAR diffusion. How AMPAR diffusion within the synapse regulates synaptic transmission on the millisecond scale remains mysterious. Using single-molecule tracking, we found that, upon glutamate binding, synaptic AMPAR diffuse faster. Using AMPAR stabilized in different conformational states by point mutations and pharmacology, we show that desensitized receptors bind less stargazin and are less stabilized at the synapse than receptors in opened or closed-resting states. AMPAR mobility-mediated regulation of short-term plasticity is abrogated when the glutamate-dependent loss in AMPAR-stargazin interaction is prevented. We propose that transition from the activated to the desensitized state leads to partial loss in AMPAR-stargazin interaction that increases AMPAR mobility and allows faster recovery from desensitization-mediated synaptic depression, without affecting the overall nano-organization of AMPAR in synapses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Synaptic Potentials / genetics
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Cacng2 protein, rat
  • Calcium Channels
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Glutamic Acid
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 2
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 1