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Photochemically Knocking Out Glutamate Receptors in Vivo

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journal contribution
posted on 03.11.2004 by James J. Chambers, Hiroaki Gouda, David M. Young, Irwin D. Kuntz, Pamela M. England
AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isooxazole) receptors, a major subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), mediate the majority of the fast communication between neurons, and the activity-dependent trafficking of AMPA receptors at synapses plays a role in mammalian learning and memory. Here we describe the design, synthesis, and evaluation of a photoreactive AMPA receptor antagonist that provides a means of “knocking out” AMPA receptors present on the surface of cells. The antagonist, 6-azido-7-nitro-1,4-dihydroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (ANQX), was designed by introducing a photoreactive azido group onto a quinoxalinedione inhibitor scaffold. Computational docking of ANQX to the AMPA receptor ligand-binding core predicted efficient binding to AMPA receptors. Glutamate-evoked currents were reversibly blocked at micromolar ANQX concentrations prior to photolysis and irreversibly blocked following photolysis. ANQX provides a means of directly evaluating the trafficking of native AMPA receptors with unparalleled spatiotemporal resolution.