Postsynaptic localization and regulation of AMPA receptors and Cav1.2 by β2 adrenergic receptor/PKA and Ca2+/CaMKII signaling

Tommaso Patriarchi, Olivia R. Buonarati, Johannes W Hell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The synapse transmits, processes, and stores data within its tiny space. Effective and specific signaling requires precise alignment of the relevant components. This review examines current insights into mechanisms of AMPAR and NMDAR localization by PSD-95 and their spatial distribution at postsynaptic sites to illuminate the structural and functional framework of postsynaptic signaling. It subsequently delineates how β2 adrenergic receptor (β2 AR) signaling via adenylyl cyclase and the cAMP-dependent protein kinase PKA is organized within nanodomains. Here, we discuss targeting of β2 AR, adenylyl cyclase, and PKA to defined signaling complexes at postsynaptic sites, i.e., AMPARs and the L-type Ca2+ channel Cav1.2, and other subcellular surface localizations, the role of A kinase anchor proteins, the physiological relevance of the spatial restriction of corresponding signaling, and their interplay with signal transduction by the Ca2+- and calmodulin-dependent kinase CaMKII. How localized and specific signaling by cAMP occurs is a central cellular question. The dendritic spine constitutes an ideal paradigm for elucidating the dimensions of spatially restricted signaling because of their small size and defined protein composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere99771
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018


  • AKAP
  • cAMP
  • NMDA receptors
  • norepinephrine
  • PSD-95

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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