Furthering pharmacological and physiological assessment of the glutamatergic receptors at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction

J. Y. Lee, D. Bhatt, D. Bhatt, W. Y. Chung, R. L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Drosophila melanogaster larval neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) serve as a model for synaptic physiology. The molecular sequences of the postsynaptic glutamate receptors have been described; however, the pharmacological profile has not been fully elucidated. The postsynaptic molecular sequence suggests a novel glutamate receptor subtype. Kainate does not depolarize the muscle, but dampens evoked EPSP amplitudes. Quantal responses show a decreased amplitude and area under the voltage curve indicative of reduced postsynaptic receptor sensitivity to glutamate transmission. ATPA, a kainate receptor agonist, did not mimic kainate's action. The metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist t-ACPD had no effect. Domoic acid, a kainate/AMPA receptor agonist, blocks the postsynaptic receptors without depolarizing the muscle. However, SYM 2081, a kainate receptor agonist, did depolarize the muscle and reduce the EPSP amplitude at 1 mM but not at 0.1 mM. This supports the notion that these are generally a quisqualate subtype receptors with some oddities in the pharmacological profile. The results suggest a direct postsynaptic action of kainate due to partial antagonist action on the quisqualate receptors. There does not appear to be presynaptic auto-regulation via a kainate receptor subtype or a metabotropic auto-receptor. This study aids in furthering the pharmokinetic profiling and specificity of the receptor subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-557
Number of pages12
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding provided by the Korean Army and the Korean Military Academy (JYL, WYC). Funding was also provided in part by NSF grant NSF-IBN-0131459 (RLC) and G. Ribble Fellowships in the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky (DB & DB) .


  • Facilitation
  • Insect
  • Invertebrate
  • Quanta
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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