Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors

Heterogeneity by Posttranscriptional Modifications
  • Bernd Sommer
Part of the The Receptors book series (REC)


Glutamate is the major mediator of fast excitatory transmission in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). It plays an important role in processes controlling synaptic plasticity, memory formation, and learning. The release of excess glutamate and overexcitation are the causes of neuronal damage and cell death in pathological conditions, such as ischemia (Bliss and Collingridge, 1993; Choi, 1992; Mayer and Westbrook 1987). Consequently, the glutamatergic system has been a primary target of biomedical research. Glutamatergic transmission acts through specific receptors, which are pharmacologically classified into three distinct, cation selective, ligand-gated ion channels based on their preferred agonists, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole acid (AMPA), and kainate. Expression cloning of AMPA (Hollmann et al., 1989) and NMDA (Moriyoshi et al., 1991) identified the molecular entities of these major receptor classes and triggered numerous cloning approaches based on sequence similarity. These efforts resulted in an explosive increase in our knowledge of ionotropic GluR molecular biology. To date, 16 individual ionotropic GluR genes have been identified. Their degree of molecular relationship largely matches the previous pharmacological classification (for review, see Hollmann and Heinemann, 1994).


Glutamate Receptor Splice Variant AMPA Receptor Receptor Subunit Site Editing 
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© Humana Press Inc. 1997

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  • Bernd Sommer

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