GluR1 drives scaffolding protein SAP97 to the membrane of nerve cells, according to Journal of Neuroscience paper.

Researchers who recently reported that that the glutamate receptor 1(GluR1) promotes the growth of dendrites have now described the molecular pathways GluR1 uses to bind with the SAP97 protein to control dendrite growth during the early postnatal period.

“Our work suggests that GluR1 brings the scaffolding protein SAP97 to the membrane of nerve cells, where it can receive pro-growth signals to build dendrites,” says Robert Kalb, M.D., a neurologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These results are reported in the October 8 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Their previous study, reported in the October 1 issue, indicated that GluR1 plays a role in dendrite development in nerve cell cultures and in the nervous systems of mice. The scientists showed that suppressing GluR1 activity reduced dendrite growth and led to poor development of connections between neurons in mice. As a result, the animals displayed less strength and less endurance on treadmill tests.

Genetic manipulation that led to cell surface expression of GluR1 protein in adult mice, however, led to supernormal motor performance as shown by longer duration on treadmills.

Investigators from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins University, the State University of New York, Buffalo, as well as Germany and Japan collaborated on the study.

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