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The ability of the constitutively active fragment of protein kinase C (PKM) to modulate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-activated currents in cultured mouse hippocampal neurons and acutely isolated CA1 hippocampal neurons from postnatal rats was studied using patch-clamp techniques. The responses of two heterodimeric combinations of recombinant NMDA receptors (NR1a/NR2A and NR1a/NR2B) expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells were also examined. Intracellular applications of PKM potentiated NMDA-evoked currents in cultured and isolated CA1 hippocampal neurons. This potentiation was observed in the absence or presence of extracellular Ca2+ and was prevented by the coapplication of the inhibitory peptide protein kinase inhibitor(19-36). Furthermore, the PKM-induced potentiation was not a consequence of a reduction in the sensitivity of the currents to voltage-dependent blockade by extracellular Mg2+. We also found different sensitivities of the responses of recombinant NMDA receptors to the intracellular application of PKM. Some potentiation was observed with the NR1a/NR2A subunits, but none was observed with the NR1a/NR2B combination. Applications of PKM to inside-out patches taken from cultured neurons increased the probability of channel opening without changing single-channel current amplitudes or channel open times. Thus, the activation of protein kinase C is associated with potentiation of NMDA receptor function in hippocampal neurons largely through an increase in the probability of channel opening.


Journal article


Mol Pharmacol

Publication Date





1055 - 1063


Animals, Calcium, Cell Line, Cells, Cultured, Enzyme Inhibitors, Evoked Potentials, Hippocampus, Humans, Magnesium, Mice, N-Methylaspartate, Neurons, Peptides, Phosphorylation, Protein Kinase C, Pyramidal Cells, Rats, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate