Kainate Receptors


in Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission in Health and Disease

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150025
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865079 | DOI:
Kainate Receptors

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Both kainate receptors and AMPA receptors mediate fast excitatory synaptic transmission and are associated primarily with voltage-independent channels that gate a depolarizing current mainly carried by an influx of sodium ions. Two compounds—the natural plant product kainic acid, which was isolated from Digenea simplex and is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of diseases caused by parasites, and a synthetic analogue of quisqualic acid, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA)—have played pivotal roles in the characterization of the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor (GluR) subclass. The question of whether functional kainate receptors exist in the human central nervous system remained unresolved for a long time. This situation changed signiticantly with the cloning of GluR subunits. Cloning of additional GluR subunits firmly established the existence of genuine kainate receptors. This chapter discusses the molecular structure and subunit composition of kainate receptors, along with their single-channel conductance and desensitization, alternative splicing, messenger RNA editing, distribution, pharmacology, role in synaptic plasticity, and therapeutic applications.

Keywords: kainate receptors; synaptic transmission; glutamate receptors; conductance; desensitization; pharmacology; alternative splicing; messenger RNA editing; synaptic plasticity

Chapter.  8337 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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