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Cortactin regulates endo-lysosomal sorting of AMPARs via direct interaction with GluA2 subunit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number4155
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Feb 2018
DatePublished (current) - 7 Mar 2018


AMPA receptor (AMPAR) trafficking is a key determinant of synaptic strength and synaptic plasticity. Under basal conditions, constitutive trafficking maintains surface AMPARs by internalization into the endosomal system, where the majority are sorted and targeted for recycling back to the plasma membrane. NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent Long-Term Depression (LTD) is characterised by a reduction in synaptic strength, and involves endosomal sorting of AMPARs away from recycling pathways to lysosomes. The mechanisms that determine whether AMPARs are trafficked to lysosomes or to recycling endosomes, especially in response to NMDAR stimulation, are unclear. Here, we define a role for the actin-regulatory protein cortactin as a mediator of AMPAR endosomal sorting by direct interaction with the GluA2 subunit. Disrupting GluA2-cortactin binding in neurons causes the targeting of GluA2/A3-containing receptors to lysosomes and their consequent degradation, resulting in a loss of surface and synaptic GluA2 under basal conditions and an occlusion of subsequent LTD expression. Furthermore, we show that NMDAR stimulation causes a dissociation of endogenous cortactin from GluA2 via tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin. These results demonstrate that cortactin maintains GluA2/A3 levels by directing receptors away from lysosomes, and that disrupting GluA2-cortactin interactions to target GluA2/A3 to lysosomes is an essential component of LTD expression.

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