Conclusions

The field of intracellular trafficking of AMPARs is advancing at an incredible pace. New proteins interacting with AMPARs or with the AMPAR trafficking machinery are identified almost every week. In parallel, the number of neuronal systems that have been demonstrated to display plasticity because of AMPAR movement has also increased steadily. Importantly, we are now in a situation where specific mechanisms are being described for the new factors that participate in AMPAR intracellular trafficking. Undoubtedly, more studies will be required to unambiguously distinguish the initial steps in the dendritic transport of the receptor from the processes that orchestrate their dynamic behavior close to the synapse, where the regulated insertion and removal of receptors is used to control synaptic strength during plasticity. New investigations will also lead us to the identification of the core cellular machinery that directly transports AMPARs, as well as the regulatory molecules that gate or modulate specific trafficking steps. These are exciting times, when the field of AMPAR trafficking and synaptic plasticity is started to be integrated within the general framework of intracellular membrane transport and sorting.

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