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S. Oliet & T. Papouin dans Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B

Outsiders ! Organisation, structure et fonction des récepteurs NMDA en dehors de la fente synaptique

Le 18 septembre 2014

Review article: Organization, control and function of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors
Thomas Papouin and Stéphane H. R. Oliet
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 2014 369 1654 20130601; doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0601 (published 15 September 2014) 1471-2970
Stephane Oliet at the Neurocentre Magendie reviews extrasynaptic NMDA receptors organization structure and function in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, another ‘bordelaise’ publication in the oldest scientific journal in the English-speaking world!

Authored by Dr. Thomas Papouin from Tufts University (Boston) and Dr. Stephane Oliet at the Neurocentre Magendie, the review discusses the most recent findings on extrasynaptic NMDA receptors and questions classical views regarding their structure, organization and function.

 Thomas Papouin: Those receptors are notoriously difficult to study, due to their subcellular location. Since specific and reliable tools/approaches to investigate them are yet to be developed, data were gathered from indirect evidence over the last decades, often based on assumptions that those receptors have a very distinct subunit composition. 

In this issue focusing on “Brain circuitry outside the synaptic cleft”, led by Pr Dmitri Rusakov, authors chose to review the most recent data, including their own, about the organization, structure and activity of NMDARs at extrasynaptic site – from their dendritic distribution and their agonist gating outside of the synapse, to evidence that tonic current and SICs (Slow Inward Currents) are generated by these receptors.

They also discuss the relevance of extrasynaptic NMDAR activity to neuronal function and how prevailing theories about their role in synaptic plasticity and excitotoxicity are being significantly challenged.

 Abstract :
N-methyl D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) exist in different forms owing to multiple combinations of subunits that can assemble into a functional receptor. In addition, they are located not only at synapses but also at extrasynaptic sites. There has been intense speculation over the past decade about whether specific NMDAR subtypes and/or locations are responsible for inducing synaptic plasticity and excitotoxicity. Here, we review the latest findings on the organization, subunit composition and endogenous control of NMDARs at extrasynaptic sites and consider their putative functions. Because astrocytes are capable of controlling NMDARs through the release of gliotransmitters, we also discuss the role of the glial environment in regulating the activity of these receptors.


Thomas Papouin (Thomas.Papouin @
Dernière mise à jour le 18.09.2014


Stéphane Oliet
Neurocentre Magendie
Relation Glie-Neurone


Thomas Papouin, PhD
Department of Neuroscience
Tufts University School of Medicine
136 Harrison Avenue - Arnold 202
Boston, MA 02111
Fax:    (617) 636-2413