1. We have explored the effects of targeted disruption of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor ε1 or ε2 subunit gene on NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (NMDA EPSCs) and long-term potentiations (LTPs) at the two types of synapse in mouse hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons: those formed by the commissural/associational (C/A) and fimbrial (Fim) inputs. 2. Electrophysiological experiments were performed in hippocampal slices prepared from both wild-type and ε1- or ε2-disrupted mice using extracellular and whole-cell patch recording techniques. To assess the ε1, ε2 and ζ1 subunit expression at cellular levels, we performed non-isotopic in situ hybridization with digoxigenin-labelled cRNA probes. 3. We could record EPSCs in response to the stimulations to either of the C/A and Fim afferents from a single CA3 pyramidal neuron. The ε1, ε2 and ζ1 subunits were expressed together in individual CA3 neurons. 4. The εl subunit disruption selectively reduced NMDA EPSCs and LTP in the C/A-CA3 synapse without significantly affecting those in the Fim-CA3 synapse, whereas the ε2 subunit mutation diminished NMDA EPSCs and LTP in the Fim-CA3 synapse with no appreciable functional modifications in the C/A-CA3 synapse. 5. These results suggest that NMDA receptors with different subunit compositions function within a single CA3 pyramidal cell in a synapse-selective manner.
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