Ca2+ influx via GluR2-lacking Ca2+-permeable AMPA glutamate receptors (CP-AMPARs) can trigger changes in synaptic efficacy in both interneurons and principle neurons, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We took advantage of genetically altered mice with no or reduced GluR2, thus allowing the expression of synaptic CP-AMPARs, to investigate the molecular signaling process during CP-AMPAR-induced synaptic plasticity at CA1 synapses in the hippocampus. Utilizing electrophysiological techniques, we demonstrated that these receptors were capable of inducing numerous forms of long-term potentiation (referred to as CP-AMPAR dependent LTP) through a number of different induction protocols, including high-frequency stimulation (HFS) and theta-burst stimulation (TBS). This included a previously undemonstrated form of protein-synthesis dependent late-LTP (L-LTP) at CA1 synapses that is NMDA-receptor independent. This form of plasticity was completely blocked by the selective CP-AMPAR inhibitor IEM-1460, and found to be dependent on postsynaptic Ca2+ ions through calcium chelator (BAPTA) studies. Surprisingly, Ca/CaM-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), the key protein kinase that is indispensable for NMDA-receptor dependent LTP at CA1 synapses appeared to be not required for the induction of CP-AMPAR dependent LTP due to the lack of effect of two separate pharmacological inhibitors (KN-62 and staurosporine) on this form of potentiation. Both KN-62 and staurosporine strongly inhibited NMDA-receptor dependent LTP in control studies. In contrast, inhibitors for PI3-kinase (LY294002 and wortmannin) or the MAPK cascade (PD98059 and U0126) significantly attenuated this CP-AMPAR-dependent LTP. Similarly, postsynaptic infusion of tetanus toxin (TeTx) light chain, an inhibitor of exocytosis, also had a significant inhibitory effect on this form of LTP. These results suggest that distinct synaptic signaling underlies GluR2-lacking CP-AMPAR-dependent LTP, and reinforces the recent notions that CPAMPARs are important facilitators of synaptic plasticity in the brain.
Asrar, S., Zhou, Z., Ren, W., & Jia, Z. (2009). Ca2+ permeable AMPA receptor induced long-term potentiation requires PI3/MAP kinases but not Ca/CaMDependent kinase II. PLoS ONE, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004339