Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Neuroscience

Supervisor

Kathryn Murphy

Language

English

Abstract

Trafficking of the glutamatergic AMPA receptors (AMPARs) has been implicated in synaptic plasticity regulation, including long-term potentiation, long-term depression, and synaptic scaling. Two proteins, GRIP for stabilization at the synapse and PICK for internalization, are involved in trafficking GluR2-containing AMPARs in and out of the synapse. In this thesis, I addressed the changes in the mechanisms of AMPAR trafficking by characterizing the developmental trajectories of GluR2, the phosphorylated form pGluR2, GRIP, and PICK and comparing expression in visual vs. frontal cortex. I found significant differences between cortical areas in the developmental trajectories of GluR2 and pGluR2. In visual cortex, expression levels exhibited smooth developmental increases. In frontal cortex, GluR2 and pGluR2 rose to an exuberant expression between P18 and P35. Developmental trajectories for GRIP and PICK showed smooth increases that were consistent across cortical areas. Furthermore, looking at the correlation between the surface components (GluR2 and GRIP) and internalized components (pGluR2 and PICK), I found that the development of AMPAR trafficking components is tightly regulated across the cortex.

In this thesis, I also looked at AMPAR expression in adult cortex. Fluoxetine has previously been reported to induce a juvenile like state of plasticity in visual cortex and this plasticity was assessed through monocular deprivation. My results indicated that fluoxetine administration was not associated with significant changes in AMPAR expression levels. However, monocular deprivation induced significant upregulation in expression levels of all four proteins. These results imply the presence of AMPAR-mediated plasticity in the adult brain.

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