Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) subtype of glutamate receptor is believed to be central to synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain. It is implicated in epilepsy and excitoxicity. Thus the mechanisms and factors which modulate AMPA receptor activity are of considerable interest. The focus of this project is to determine the functional properties of AMPA receptors and associated ion channels by the use of compounds which modulate receptor function. The long-term objective is to uncover the role of AMPA receptors in synaptic plasticity and long term potentiation (LTP). LTP is a form of synaptic plasticity thought to underlie learning and memory. It is noted that during the purification process heparin bound with high affinity to solubilized AMPA receptors and altered their channel kinetics. The effects of heparin and other glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) on single channel kinetics of purified and reconstituted AMPA receptors will be determined. Biochemical studies indicated that heparin has little effect on membrane associated AMPA receptors. During reconstruction experiments heparin and dextran sulfate induced AMPA channels of very high conductivity. Thus this project will define the mechanism responsible for the differences in responses of membrane associated and solubilized receptors to glycosaminoglycans. This will be achieved by electrophysiological analysis of reconstituted. This will be achieved by electrophysiological analysis of reconstituted crude synaptic preparations that have been treated with specific enzymes to remove glycosaminoglycans. This project will also investigate the role of glycosaminoglycans on the increase cooperativity among AMPA receptor channels and the effects of centrally active drugs (benzoyl pyridine derivatives) on AMPA receptors and associated channels. These drugs have been shown to result in substantial improvement in retention scores of rats and human subjects tested on various memory tasks, possibly due to modulation of AMP receptors and associated ion channels.

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Tuskegee University
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Mathews, Ensa; Braden, Tim D; Williams, Carol S et al. (2009) Mal-development of the penis and loss of fertility in male rats treated neonatally with female contraceptive 17alpha-ethinyl estradiol: a dose-response study and a comparative study with a known estrogenic teratogen diethylstilbestrol. Toxicol Sci 112:331-43
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