ADF/cofilin-mediated actin dynamics regulate AMPA receptor trafficking during synaptic plasticity

Jiaping Gu, Chi Wai Lee, Yanjie Fan, Daniel Komlos, Xin Tang, Chicheng Sun, Kuai Yu, H Criss Hartzell, Gong Chen, James R Bamburg, James Q Zheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

259 Citations (Scopus)


Dendritic spines undergo actin-based growth and shrinkage during synaptic plasticity, in which the actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin family of actin-associated proteins are important. Elevated ADF/cofilin activities often lead to reduced spine size and immature spine morphology but can also enhance synaptic potentiation in some cases. Thus, ADF/cofilin may have distinct effects on postsynaptic structure and function. We found that ADF/cofilin-mediated actin dynamics regulated AMPA receptor (AMPAR) trafficking during synaptic potentiation, which was distinct from actin's structural role in spine morphology. Specifically, elevated ADF/cofilin activity markedly enhanced surface addition of AMPARs after chemically induced long-term potentiation (LTP), whereas inhibition of ADF/cofilin abolished AMPAR addition. We found that chemically induced LTP elicited a temporal sequence of ADF/cofilin dephosphorylation and phosphorylation that underlies AMPAR trafficking and spine enlargement. These findings suggest that temporally regulated ADF/cofilin activities function in postsynaptic modifications of receptor number and spine size during synaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1215
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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