Although it is well-known that AMPA receptors are involved in spatial learning and memory, published data on GluR3 and GluR4 are limited. Moreover, there is no information about GluR3 and GluR4 receptor complex levels in spatial memory training. It was therefore the aim of the study to determine the abovementioned receptor levels following training in the Multiple T-Maze (MTM).
Results from the MTM and hippocampal membrane proteins from C57BL/6J mice were taken from an own previous study and GluR3 and GluR4 receptor complexes were run on blue native gel electrophoresis followed by immunoblotting and quantification of bands. Subsequently, GluR3 and GluR4 were identified under denaturing conditions from two-dimensional gels by mass spectrometry (nano-LC–ESI–MS/MS).
Hippocampal levels of GluR3 containing complexes (apparent molecular weight between 480 and 720) were decreased while GluR4 containing complexes (apparent molecular weight between 480 and 720) were increased. GluR4 complex levels in trained mice were correlating with latency and speed. Mass spectrometry unambiguously identified the two receptor subunits.
The findings show that GluR3 and GluR4 may have different functions in the processes of spatial memory training in the MTM and indeed, different neurobiological functions of the two receptor subunits have been already reported. GluR3 and GluR4 receptor complex rather than subunit levels are paralleling training in the MTM and GluR4 complex levels were even linked to memory training, which may be of relevance for understanding molecular memory processes, interpretation of previous work or for design of future AMPA receptor studies.