There are two major forms of long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission in the central nervous system that require activation of either N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) or metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). In synapses in the perirhinal cortex, we have directly compared the Ca2+ signaling mechanisms involved in NMDAR-LTD and mGluR-LTD. While both forms of LTD involve Ca2+ release from intracellular stores, the Ca2+ sensors involved are different; NMDAR-LTD involves calmodulin, while mGluR-LTD involves the neuronal Ca2+ sensor (NCS) protein NCS-1. In addition, there is a specific requirement for IP3 and PKC, as well as protein interacting with C kinase (PICK-1) in mGluR-LTD. NCS-1 binds directly to PICK1 via its BAR domain in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Furthermore, the NCS-1-PICK1 association is stimulated by activation of mGluRs, but not NMDARs, and introduction of a PICK1 BAR domain fusion protein specifically blocks mGluR-LTD. Thus, NCS-1 plays a distinct role in mGluR-LTD.
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