NMDA Receptors, Multi-protein Complexes, & LTP
Professor Tom O'Dell describes the role played by NMDA receptors, as part of a large multi-protein complex, in facilitating long-term potentiation (LTP).
We think that crucial to detecting these different patterns of activity at the synapse – the patterns that will induce long-term potentiation or long-term depression – a key component of the machinery that detects those patterns is something called the NMDA (or N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor for glutamate. But in addition, and coupled to, the NMDA receptor in this large multi-protein signaling complex is a whole host of signaling proteins and adaptor molecules and cytoskeletal proteins. We think what is happening (and much of this is still not well understood) is that these proteins, these signaling molecules, are being brought into this complex, so that they can produce a coordinated cellular response to activation of those NMDA-type receptors. In other words, when the synapse gets stronger there’s changes happening at the glutamate receptors that are at the synapse. There are also structural changes that are happening in the dendritic spines, in the dendritic trees of those cells. There are signals that are going down to the nucleus that cause changes in the gene expression. There are also signals that are regulating the excitability of the cell at many, many different places in the cell. This coordinated cellular response to a given input – activation of those NMDA receptors – is probably being coordinated by this large multi-protein complex, or signal receptor complex.
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Professor Tom O'Dell defines depotentiation - the erasure of long-term potentiation (LTP) at the synapse.
Professor Tom O'Dell discusses synaptic plasticity - the strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections between neurons.
Professor Tom O'Dell comments that phosphorylation plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity.
Professor Trevor Robbins describes some of the key functions of the excitatory glutamate system, which is integral to information processing and long-term potentiation.
Professor Tom O'Dell defines phosphorylation - the addition of a phosphate group to a protein molecule to regulate gene function.
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA is an amino acid derivative very similar to glutamate - the brain's primary excitatory neurotransmitter.
Professor Graham Collingridge describes the roles played by NMDA and AMPA receptors in long-term potentiation (LTP).
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses the finding that amyloid beta seems to decrease the uptake of glutamate by synapses.
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
Professor Tom O'Dell describes different techniques for studying the physiology of the nervous system.