The related small GTPases Ras and Rap1 are important for signaling synaptic AMPA receptor (-R) trafficking during long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), respectively. Rap2, which shares 60% identity to Rap1, is present at excitatory synapses, but its functional role is unknown. Here, we report that Rap2 activity, stimulated by NR2A-containing NMDA-R activation, depresses AMPA-R-mediated synaptic transmission via activation of JNK rather than Erk1/2 or p38 MAPK. Moreover, Rap2 controls synaptic removal of AMPA-Rs with long cytoplasmic termini during depotentiation. Thus, Rap2-JNK pathway, which opposes the action of the NR2A-containing NMDA-R-stimulated Ras-ERK1/2 signaling and complements the NR2B-containing NMDA-R-stimulated Rap1-p38 MAPK signaling, channels the specific signaling for depotentiating central synapses.
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