The Glutamate System
Professor Trevor Robbins describes some of the key functions of the excitatory glutamate system, which is integral to information processing and long term potentiation.
The glutamate system of the brain, again it is one of the two major amino acid systems, GABA being the other major one. The glutamate system is a fast-signaling system that is very important for information processing in neuronal networks of the neocortex and hippocampus in particular. Glutamate is very much involved in the process of long-term potentiation, which is a neuronal model of memory. There are at least three major types of glutamate receptors: the AMPA receptor, the NMDA receptor, and the kainate receptor. Some people think that we will discover memory-enhancing drugs by using agents that work at these receptors, one example being the so-called ampakines.
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Professor Graham Collingridge describes the roles played by NMDA and AMPA receptors in long-term potentiation (LTP).
Professor Trevor Robbins describes the GABA (or GABAergic) system, whose main function in the brain is inhibition.
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses the finding that amyloid beta seems to decrease the uptake of glutamate by synapses.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses evidence from a number of research areas that highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter glutamate in schizophrenia.
Professor Graham Collingridge describes the glutamate receptor, AMPA, the workhorse receptor for communicating information.
Communication in brain cells is guided by interactions between genes and biochemicals at the synapse. These interactions can lead to the formation of new synapses.
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).
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that the genes active in different neurons can make them excitatory (e.g. glutamate) or inhibitory (e.g. GABA). These neurotransmitters are critical to learning.
Learning and memory are two intimately linked cognitive processes that stem from interactions with the environment (experience).
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA is an amino acid derivative very similar to glutamate - the brain's primary excitatory neurotransmitter.