Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Glutamate receptors

The amino acid glutamate is the neurotransmitter responsible for most of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. It plays a central role in many important physiological processes including learning and memory. The diverse effects of glutamate are mediated by a number of membrane bound receptors. Research was carried out in order to obtain the 3-dimensional structure of the glutamate receptor.

A method was developed to determine the actual subunit composition of native AMPA ionotropic glutamate receptors. This was applied to visual cortex neurons. The method has now been adapted to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and kainate receptors. With this technique, the subunit composition of the kainate receptor in the hippocampus has been identified. Also, the ionic properties of the NMDA channels have been characterized in more detail. New ligands have been prepared for the AMPA receptors and a new splice variant of the metabotropic receptor mGluR5 has been characterized.


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