Kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity

B. Kampa, J. Clements, P.M. Jonas, G. Stuart, Journal of Physiology 556 (2004) 337–45.


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Abstract
The time course of Mg(2+) block and unblock of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) determines the extent they are activated by depolarization. Here, we directly measure the rate of NMDAR channel opening in response to depolarizations at different times after brief (1 ms) and sustained (4.6 s) applications of glutamate to nucleated patches from neocortical pyramidal neurons. The kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock were found to be non-instantaneous and complex, consisting of a prominent fast component (time constant approximately 100 micros) and slower components (time constants 4 and approximately 300 ms), the relative amplitudes of which depended on the timing of the depolarizing pulse. Fitting a kinetic model to these data indicated that Mg(2+) not only blocks the NMDAR channel, but reduces both the open probability and affinity for glutamate, while enhancing desensitization. These effects slow the rate of NMDAR channel opening in response to depolarization in a time-dependent manner such that the slower components of Mg(2+) unblock are enhanced during depolarizations at later times after glutamate application. One physiological consequence of this is that brief depolarizations occurring earlier in time after glutamate application are better able to open NMDAR channels. This finding has important implications for spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP), where the precise (millisecond) timing of action potentials relative to synaptic inputs determines the magnitude and sign of changes in synaptic strength. Indeed, we find that STDP timing curves of NMDAR channel activation elicited by realistic dendritic action potential waveforms are narrower than expected assuming instantaneous Mg(2+) unblock, indicating that slow Mg(2+) unblock of NMDAR channels makes the STDP timing window more precise.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2004-01-01
Journal Title
Journal of Physiology
Volume
556
Issue
Pt 2
Page
337 - 45
IST-REx-ID

Cite this

Kampa B, Clements J, Jonas PM, Stuart G. Kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity. Journal of Physiology. 2004;556(Pt 2):337-345. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2003.058842
Kampa, B., Clements, J., Jonas, P. M., & Stuart, G. (2004). Kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity. Journal of Physiology, 556(Pt 2), 337–345. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2003.058842
Kampa, Bjorn, John Clements, Peter M Jonas, and Greg Stuart. “Kinetics of Mg(2+) Unblock of NMDA Receptors: Implications for Spike-Timing Dependent Synaptic Plasticity.” Journal of Physiology 556, no. Pt 2 (2004): 337–45. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2003.058842 .
B. Kampa, J. Clements, P. M. Jonas, and G. Stuart, “Kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity,” Journal of Physiology, vol. 556, no. Pt 2, pp. 337–45, 2004.
Kampa B, Clements J, Jonas PM, Stuart G. 2004. Kinetics of Mg(2+) unblock of NMDA receptors: implications for spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity. Journal of Physiology. 556(Pt 2), 337–45.
Kampa, Bjorn, et al. “Kinetics of Mg(2+) Unblock of NMDA Receptors: Implications for Spike-Timing Dependent Synaptic Plasticity.” Journal of Physiology, vol. 556, no. Pt 2, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004, pp. 337–45, doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2003.058842 .

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