The AMPA glutamate receptor (AMPAR) subunits GluR2 and GluR3 are thought to be important for synaptic targeting/stabilization of AMPARs and the expression of hippocampal long-term depression (LTD). In order to address this hypothesis genetically, we generated and analyzed knockout mice deficient in the expression of both GluR2 and GluR3. We show here that the double knockout mice are severely impaired in basal synaptic transmission, demonstrating that GluR2/3 are essential to maintain adequate synaptic transmission in vivo. However, these mutant mice are competent in establishing several forms of long-lasting synaptic changes in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, including LTD, long-term potentiation (LTP), depotentiation, and dedepression, indicating the presence of GluR2/3-independent mechanisms of LTD expression and suggesting that AMPA receptor GluR1 alone is capable of various forms of synaptic plasticity.
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