Arc/Arg3.1 is an immediate-early gene whose mRNA is rapidly transcribed and targeted to dendrites of neurons as they engage in information processing and storage. Moreover, Arc/Arg3.1 is known to be required for durable forms of synaptic plasticity and learning. Despite these intriguing links to plasticity, Arc/Arg3.1's molecular function remains enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that Arc/Arg3.1 protein interacts with dynamin and specific isoforms of endophilin to enhance receptor endocytosis. Arc/Arg3.1 selectively modulates trafficking of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) in neurons by accelerating endocytosis and reducing surface expression. The Arc/Arg3.1-endocytosis pathway appears to regulate basal AMPAR levels since Arc/Arg3.1 KO neurons exhibit markedly reduced endocytosis and increased steady-state surface levels. These findings reveal a novel molecular pathway that is regulated by Arc/Arg3.1 and likely contributes to late-phase synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas