Rapid glutamatergic synaptic transmission is mediated by ionotropic glutamate receptors and depends on their precise localization at postsynaptic membranes opposing the presynaptic neurotransmitter release sites. Postsynaptic localization of N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptors may be mediated by the synapse-associated proteins (SAPs) SAP90, SAP102, and chapsyn-110. SAPs contain three PDZ domains that can interact with the C termini of proteins such as N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunits that carry a serine or threonine at the -2 position and a valine, isoleucine, or leucine at the very C terminus (position 0). We now show that SAP97, a SAP whose function at the synapse has been unclear, is associated with α-amino-3- hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamate receptors. AMPA receptors are probably tetramers and are formed by two or more of the four AMPA receptor subunits GluR1-4. GluR1 possesses a C-terminal consensus sequence for interactions with PDZ domains of SAPs. SAP97 was present in AMPA receptor complexes immunoprecipitated from detergent extracts of rat brain. After treatment of rat brain membrane fractions with the cross-linker dithiobis(succinimidylpropionate) and solubilization with sodium dodecylsulfate, SAP97 was associated with GluR1 but not GluR2 or GluR3. In vitro experiments with recombinant proteins indicate that SAP97 specifically associates with the C terminus of GluR1 but not other AMPA receptor subunits. Our findings suggest that SAP97 may be involved in localizing AMPA receptors at postsynaptic sites through its interaction with the GluR1 subunit.
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