Although metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) mGluR1 and mGluR5 are often found to have similar functions, there is considerable evidence that the two receptors also serve distinct functions in neurons. In hippocampal area CA1, mGluR5 has been most strongly implicated in long-term synaptic depression (LTD), whereas mGluR1 has been thought to have little or no role. Here we show that simultaneous pharmacological blockade of mGluR1 and mGluR5 is required to block induction of LTD by the group 1 mGluR agonist, (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG). Blockade of mGluR1 or mGluR5 alone has no effect on LTD induction, suggesting that activation of either receptor can fully induce LTD. Consistent with this conclusion, mGluR1 and mGluR5 both contribute to activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), which has previously been shown to be required for LTD induction. In contrast, selective blockade of mGluR1, but not mGluR5, reduces the expression of LTD and the associated decreases in AMPA surface expression. LTD is also reduced in mGluR1 knockout mice confirming the involvement of mGluR1. This shows a novel role for mGluR1 in long-term synaptic plasticity in CA1 pyramidal neurons. In contrast to DHPG-induced LTD, synaptically induced LTD with paired-pulse low-frequency stimulation persists in the pharmacological blockade of group 1 mGluRs and in mGluR1 or mGluR5 knockout mice. This suggests different receptors and/or upstream mechanisms for chemically and synaptically induced LTD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas