"Unconventional NMDA Receptor Signalling in Neocortical Plasticity"
Jesper Sjostrom, McGill University
Tuesday January 28, 12-1pm
Montreal Neurological Institute, deGrandpre Communications Centre
Abstract: In the classical view, postsynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) trigger Hebbian plasticity via calcium influx. However, unconventional presynaptic NMDARs (preNMDARs) which regulate both long-term and short-term plasticity at several synapse types have also been found. A lack of sufficiently specific experimental manipulations and a poor understanding of how preNMDARs signal have contributed to long-standing controversy surrounding these receptors. Our recent work indicates that, whereas ionotropic preNMDARs signaling controls evoked release, spontaneous release is regulated by metabotropic NMDAR signaling. Elucidating unconventional NMDAR signaling modes — both presynaptically and metabotropically — is in other words key to a full understanding of NMDAR function in health as well as disease.