The distribution of glutamate receptors in cultured rat hippocampal neurons: postsynaptic clustering of AMPA-selective subunits

Neuron. 1993 Jun;10(6):1055-68. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(93)90054-u.


The distribution of several glutamate receptor subunits was investigated in cultured rat hippocampal neurons by in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. The AMPA/kainate-selective receptors GluR1-6 exhibited two patterns of mRNA expression: most neurons expressed GluR1, R2, and R6, whereas only about 20% expressed significant levels of GluR3, R4, and R5. By immunocytochemistry, the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR1 alpha was detectable only in a subpopulation of GABAergic interneurons. GluR1 and GluR2/3 segregated to the somatodendritic domain within the first week in culture, even in the absence of synaptogenesis. Glutamate receptor-enriched spines developed later and were present only on presumptive pyramidal cells, not on GABAergic interneurons. Clusters of GluR1 and GluR2/3 completely colocalized and were restricted to a subset of postsynaptic sites. Thus, glutamate receptor subunits exhibit both a cell type-specific expression and a selective subcellular localization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Ibotenic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ibotenic Acid / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Quisqualic Acid / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate / analysis
  • Receptors, Glutamate / biosynthesis*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Ibotenic Acid
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid
  • Quisqualic Acid