Kainate (KA) receptors are expressed widely in the CNS. However, little is known about their functional characterization, molecular identity, and role in synaptic transmission in the forebrain of adult mice. Patch-clamp recordings in genetically modified mice show that postsynaptic KA receptors contribute to fast synaptic transmission in pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a forebrain region critical for higher-order cognitive brain functions such as memory and mental disorders. Single-shock stimulation could induce small KA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (KA EPSCs) in the presence of picrotoxin, D-2-amino-5-phosphono-pentanoic acid, and a selective AMPA receptor antagonist, GYKI 53655. KA EPSCs had a significantly slower rise time course and decay time constant compared with AMPA receptor-mediated EPSCs. High-frequency repetitive stimulation significantly facilitated the KA EPSCs. Genetic deletion of the GluR6 or GluR5 subunit significantly reduced, and GluR5 and 6 double knockout completely abolished, KA EPSCs and KA-activated currents in ACC pyramidal neurons. Our results show that KA receptors contribute to synaptic transmission in adult ACC pyramidal neurons and provide a synaptic basis for the physiology and pathology of KA receptors in ACC-related functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas