Target-cell-specific concentration of a metabotropic glutamate receptor in the presynaptic active zone

Nature. 1996 Jun 6;381(6582):523-5. doi: 10.1038/381523a0.


The probability of synaptic neurotransmitter release from nerve terminals is regulated by presynaptic receptors responding to transmitters released from the same nerve terminal or from terminals of other neurons. The release of glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter, is suppressed by presynaptic autoreceptors. Here we show that a metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR7) in the rat hippocampus is restricted to the presynaptic grid, the site of synaptic vesicle fusion. Pyramidal cell terminals presynaptic to mGluR1alpha-expressing interneurons have at least a ten-fold higher level of presynaptic mGluR7 than terminals making synapses with pyramidal cells and other types of interneuron. Distinct levels of mGluR7 are found at different synapses made by individual pyramidal axons or even single boutons. These results raise the possibility that presynaptic neurons could regulate the probability of transmitter release at individual synapses according to the postsynaptic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / ultrastructure
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / ultrastructure
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor Aggregation
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • leukoagglutinins, plants