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Challenges for and current status of research into positive modulators of AMPA receptors

Ward, Simon ORCID:, Bax, Benjamin D. ORCID: and Harries, Mark 2010. Challenges for and current status of research into positive modulators of AMPA receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology 160 (2) , pp. 181-190. 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00726.x

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AMPA receptors consist of a family of hetero-oligomeric (tetrameric) receptors arising from four genes, each of which encodes a distinct receptor subunit (GluA1-4). Recombinant homo-tetrameric AMPA receptors, comprising four identical subunits, are functionally active and have been used in in vitro assays. However, the many different subunit permutations make possible the functional and anatomical diversity of AMPA receptors throughout the CNS. Furthermore, AMPA receptor subunit stoichiometry influences the biophysical and functional properties of the receptor. A number of chemically diverse positive modulators of AMPA receptor have been identified which potentiate AMPA receptor-mediated activity in vitro as well as improving cognitive performance in rodents and non-human primates with several being taken further in the clinic. This review article summarizes the current status in the research on positive allosteric modulation of AMPA receptors and outlines the challenges involved in identifying a chemically distinct series of AMPA receptor positive modulators, addressing the challenges created by the heterogeneity of the AMPA receptor populations and the development of structure-activity relationships driven by homomeric, recombinant systems on high-throughput platforms. We also review the role of X-ray crystallography in the selection and prioritization of targets for lead optimization for AMPA receptor positive modulators.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0007-1188
Date of Acceptance: 11 January 2010
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 12:59

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