, Volume 26, Issue 2-3, pp 251-268

Mechanisms of GABAA receptor assembly and trafficking

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Abstract

Fast synaptic inhibition in the brain is largely mediated by ionotropic GABA receptors, which can be subdivided into GABAA and GABAC receptors based on pharmacological and molecular criteria. GABAA receptors are important therapeutic targets for a range of sedative, anxiolytic, and hypnotic agents and are implicated in several diseases including epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. In addition, modulating the efficacy of GABAergic neurotransmission may play a key role in neuronal plasticity. Recent studies have begun to reveal that the accumulation of ionotropic GABAA receptors at synapses is a highly regulated process that is facilitated by receptor-associated proteins and other cell-signaling molecules. This review focuses on recent experimental evidence detailing the mechanisms that control the assembly and transport of functional ionotropic GABAA receptors to cell surface sites, in addition to their stability at synaptic sites. These regulatory processes will be discussed within the context of the dynamic modulation of synaptic inhibition in the central nervous system (CNS).