A novel pathway for presynaptic mitogen-activated kinase activation via AMPA receptors

Ursula Schenk, Elisabetta Menna, Taeyong Kim, Maria Passafaro, Sunghoe Chang, Pietro De Camilli, Michela Matteoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AMPA-type glutamate receptors play a key role in mediating postsynaptic responses of excitatory neurotransmitters. It is now well accepted that AMPA receptors are also present at the presynapse, where they are thought to modulate neurotransmitter release. However, the mechanisms through which they control synaptic vesicle traffic have remained elusive. We used cultured hippocampal neurons and growth cone particles prepared from fetal rat brain to investigate the functional role of presynaptic AMPA receptors. We show here that stimulation of presynaptic AMPA receptors induces activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) through a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase-dependent and Na +/Ca2+-independent mechanism. This pathway is activated predominantly in axonal growth cones compared with the somatodendritic compartment. After stimulation of presynaptic AMPA receptors, synapsin I is phosphorylated at MAPK-specific sites. These events are paralleled by a prominent increase in evoked synaptic vesicle recycling that is blocked by the specific MAPK inhibitor 2-(2-amino-3-methoxyphenyl)-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one. Similarly, in synaptosomes isolated from adult brain, AMPA stimulation induces MAPK activation and phosphorylation of synapsin I at MAPK-dependent sites and enhances significantly synaptic vesicle recycling. These results reveal a novel pathway for activation of presynaptic MAPK and suggest a role of this pathway in the regulation of short-term presynaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1654-1663
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 16 2005


  • Growth cone
  • MAP kinase
  • Presynaptic AMPA receptor
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Synaptogenesis
  • Vesicle recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel pathway for presynaptic mitogen-activated kinase activation via AMPA receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this