Chapter

Nmda Receptors

ROBERT BALÁZS, RICHARD J. BRIDGES and CARL W. COTMAN

in Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission in Health and Disease

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150025
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150025.003.0005
Nmda Receptors

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Ionotropic glutamate receptors, including NMDA receptors, mediate most of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the mammalian central nervous system. When NMDA receptors are activated by membrane depolarization, a relatively slow-rising, long-lasting current develops, which allows the summation of responses to stimuli for a relatively long periods (tens of milliseconds). In addition to their role in synaptic transmission, NMDA receptors affect functions that are critical for the survival and differentiation of cells and for synaptic plasticity, in part through Ca2+-dependent signal transduction. In addition, receptor activation elicits long-term changes in cellular functions, mediated through interactions (either directly or via scaffolding proteins) with signaling systems, including protein kinase cascades that lead to modulation of gene transcription. This chapter discusses the unique role of NMDA receptors in excitatory transmission, their molecular structure, posttranslational modifications (phosphorylation and dephosphorylation), molecular interactions relevant for signal transduction, desensitization, anatomical distribution, pharmacology, modulation of expression in transgenic mice, and therapeutic applications.

Keywords: NMDA receptors; synaptic transmission; synaptic plasticity; signal transduction; posttranslational modifications; desensitization; pharmacology; phosphorylation; dephosphorylation; transgenic mice

Chapter.  12657 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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