Monitoring Synaptic Plasticity by Imaging AMPA Receptor Content and Dynamics on Dendritic Spines

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1018)


Time-lapse imaging techniques are widely used to monitor dendritic spine dynamics, a measurement of synaptic plasticity. However, it is challenging to follow the dynamics of spines over an extended period in vivo during development or in deep brain structures that are beyond the reach of traditional microscopes. Here, we describe an AMPA receptor-based optical approach to monitor recent history of synaptic plasticity. This method allows the identification of spines that have recently acquired synaptic AMPA receptors in a single imaging session, so that synaptic plasticity that occurs in vivo in a variety of conditions can be simply imaged in an ex vivo preparation.

Key words

Two-photon imaging Dendritic spine Synaptic plasticity AMPA receptor trafficking Super Ecliptic pHluorin Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching 



We thank R. Malinow for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by NIH, the Dana Foundation, NARSAD (B.L.), and the Uehara Memorial Foundation (H.M.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Neurobiology, Division of Biological Sciences, Center for Neural Circuits and BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurosciences, Center for Neural Circuits and BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Cold Spring Harbor LaboratoryCold Spring HarborNYUSA

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