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Remembering mechanosensitivity of NMDA receptors


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Johnson, L, Battle, AR and Martinac, B 2019 , 'Remembering mechanosensitivity of NMDA receptors' , Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, vol. 13 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00533.

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An increase in post-synaptic Ca2+ conductance through activation of the ionotropic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and concomitant structural changes are essential for the initiation of long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory formation. Memories can be initiated by coincident events, as occurs in classical conditioning, where the NMDAR can act as a molecular coincidence detector. Binding of glutamate and glycine, together with depolarization of the postsynaptic cell membrane to remove the Mg2+ channel pore block, results in NMDAR opening for Ca2+ conductance. Accumulating evidence has implicated both force-from-lipids and protein tethering mechanisms for mechanosensory transduction in NMDAR, which has been demonstrated by both, membrane stretch and application of amphipathic molecules such as arachidonic acid (AA). The contribution of mechanosensitivity to memory formation and consolidation may be to increase activity of the NMDAR leading to facilitated memory formation. In this review we look back at the progress made toward understanding the physiological and pathological role of NMDA receptor channels in mechanobiology of the nervous system and consider these findings in like of their potential functional implications for memory formation. We examine recent studies identifying mechanisms of both NMDAR and other mechanosensitive channels and discuss functional implications including gain control of NMDA opening probability. Mechanobiology is a rapidly growing area of biology with many important implications for understanding form, function and pathology in the nervous system.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Johnson, L and Battle, AR and Martinac, B
Keywords: memory, PTSD, Amygdala
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 1662-5102
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00533
Copyright Information:

Copyright © 2019 Johnson, Battle and Martinac. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (

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