Metabotropic glutamate (mglu) receptors are implicated in the regulation of many physiological and pathological processes in the CNS, including synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, motor coordination, pain transmission and neurodegeneration. Several recent studies have elucidated the molecular determinants of mglu receptor signaling and show that several mechanisms acting at different steps in signal propagation are involved. We attempt to offer an integrated view on how homologous and heterologous mechanisms regulate the initial steps of signal propagation, mainly at the level of mglu-receptor-G-protein coupling. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of phosphorylation mechanisms mediated by protein kinase C and G-protein-coupled receptor kinases, and on the emerging importance of some members of the regulators of G-protein signaling family, such as RGS2 and RGS4, which facilitate the GTPase activity that is intrinsic to the α-subunits of Gq and Gi.
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