Stargazin Modulation of AMPA Receptors
Fast excitatory synaptic signaling in the mammalian brain is mediated by AMPA-type ionotropic glutamate receptors. In neurons, AMPA receptors co-assemble with auxiliary proteins, such as stargazin, which can markedly alter receptor trafficking and gating. Here, we used luminescence resonance energy transfer measurements to map distances between the full-length, functional AMPA receptor and stargazin expressed in HEK293 cells and to determine the ensemble structural changes in the receptor due to stargazin. In addition, we used single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer to study the structural and conformational distribution of the receptor and how this distribution is affected by stargazin. Our nanopositioning data place stargazin below the AMPA receptor ligand-binding domain, where it is well poised to act as a scaffold to facilitate the long-range conformational selection observations seen in single-molecule experiments. These data support a model of stargazin acting to stabilize or select conformational states that favor activation.