KENBIKYO Vol.51▶No.1 2016
â– Feature Articles: Novel Insights on Transport Systems within and between Cells

Microtubule-Binding Proteins Support Synaptic Plasticity by Regulating Transport of NMDA Receptors

Yosuke Takei and Nobutaka Hirokawa

Abstract: Neurons form a neural network and communicate with each other via their synapses. Synaptic accumulation of neurotransmitter receptors is necessary for efficient neurotransmission. A kinesin superfamily protein, KIF17, transports NMDA receptor subunit 2B in dendrites. KIF17 is essential for processes involved in neuronal plasticity, such as long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Lack of KIF17 in mice resulted in memory disturbances. Transport of NMDA receptors is regulated by phosphorylation and CREB-mediated upregulation of motor proteins and cargoes in an activity-dependent manner. NMDA receptor transport was also found to be supported by a complex of non-motor microtubule-associated protein, MAP1A, and post-synaptic protein, PSD-93. These multiple mechanisms for regulating NMDA transport support neuronal plasticity and brain function, such as learning and memory.

Key words: NMDA receptors, intracellular transport, kinesin superfamily protein, microtubule-associated protein, neuronal plasticity