Glutamate receptor expression regulates quantal size and quantal content at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction

Aaron Diantonio, Sophie A. Petersen, Manfred Heckmann, Corey S. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


At the Drosophila glutamatergic neuromuscular junction the postsynaptic cell can regulate synaptic strength by both changing its sensitivity to neurotransmitter and generating a retrograde signal that regulates presynaptic transmitter release. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying these forms of plasticity, we have undertaken a genetic analysis of two postsynaptic glutamate receptors that are expressed at this synapse. Deletion of both genes results in embryonic lethality that can be rescued by transgenic expression of either receptor. Although these receptors are redundant for viability, they have important differences. By transgenically rescuing the double mutant, we have investigated the relationship of receptor gene dosage and composition to synaptic function. We find that the receptor subunit composition regulates quantal size, Argiotoxin sensitivity, and receptor desensitization kinetics. Finally, we show that the activity of the receptor can regulate the retrograde signal functioning at this synapse. Thus, the diversity of receptors expressed at this synapse provides the cell with mechanisms for generating synaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3023-3032
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1999


  • Drosophila
  • Genetics
  • Glutamate receptor
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Quantal content
  • Quantal size
  • Retrograde signal
  • Synaptic plasticity


Dive into the research topics of 'Glutamate receptor expression regulates quantal size and quantal content at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this