AMPA receptor complex constituents: Control of receptor assembly, membrane trafficking and subcellular localization

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Fast excitatory transmission at synapses of the central nervous system is mainly mediated by AMPA receptors (AMPARs). Synaptic AMPAR number and function correlates with synaptic strength. AMPARs are thus key proteins of activity-dependent plasticity in neuronal communication. Up- or down-regulation of synaptic AMPAR number is a tightly controlled dynamic process that involves export of receptors from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi apparatus, exocytosis and endocytosis as well as lateral diffusion of the receptors in the cell membrane. The four AMPAR subunits are embedded into a dynamic network of more than 30 interacting proteins. Many of these proteins are known to modulate receptor gating, trafficking and subcellular localization. Here, we will review the influence that AMPAR interacting proteins exert on trafficking and subcellular localization of the receptors by controlling their assembly, ER/Golgi apparatus export, and synaptic anchoring.HighlightsAMPA receptors are key molecules of excitatory synapses and activity dependent synaptic plasticity.AMPA receptors comprise four GluA subunits, several core and peripheral constituents.AMPA receptor interacting proteins influence receptor assembly, ER export and trafficking to the cell membrane.Auxiliary subunits are constituents of AMPARs on the cell surface where they influence receptor gating and/or localization.Interaction of auxiliary subunits with MAGUKs stabilizes AMPARs in synapses.

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