Correlation of AMPA receptor subunit composition with synaptic input in the mammalian cochlear nuclei

Stephanie M. Gardner, Laurence O. Trussell, Donata Oertel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


The composition of AMPA receptors in patches excised from somata and dendrites of six cell types in the mammalian cochlear nuclei was probed and compared electrophysiologically and pharmacologically with the rapid application of glutamate. Cells excited predominantly by auditory nerve fibers had AMPA receptors with exceptionally rapid gating (submillisecond deactivation and desensitization time constants). The nonlinear current-voltage relationship in the presence of spermine showed that few of these receptors had GluR2 subunits, and the insensitivity of desensitization to cyclothiazide indicated that they contained mostly flop splice variants. At synapses made by parallel fibers, AMPA receptors were slowly gating (time constants of deactivation and desensitization >1 msec) and contained higher levels of GluR2 and flip isoforms. However, receptors at auditory nerve synapses on cells that also receive parallel fiber input, the fusiform cells, had intermediate properties with respect to kinetics and contained GluR2 and flip isoforms. Given the diverse biophysical properties, patterns of innervation, patterns of electrical activity, and targets of each cell type in vivo, these data indicate that the kinetics and permeation properties of AMPA receptors are linked to factors associated with synaptic connectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7428-7437
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2001


  • AMPA receptor
  • Auditory pathways
  • Cochlear nuclei
  • Cyclothiazide
  • Deactivation
  • Desensitization
  • Flop
  • GluR2
  • Kinetics
  • Polyamine
  • Rectification
  • Targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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