Synaptic AMPA receptor composition in development, plasticity and disease

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Jun;17(6):337-50. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.37. Epub 2016 Apr 15.


AMPA receptors (AMPARs) are assemblies of four core subunits, GluA1-4, that mediate most fast excitatory neurotransmission. The component subunits determine the functional properties of AMPARs, and the prevailing view is that the subunit composition also determines AMPAR trafficking, which is dynamically regulated during development, synaptic plasticity and in response to neuronal stress in disease. Recently, the subunit dependence of AMPAR trafficking has been questioned, leading to a reappraisal of this field. In this Review, we discuss what is known, uncertain, conjectured and unknown about the roles of the individual subunits, and how they affect AMPAR assembly, trafficking and function under both normal and pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, AMPA