Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, xix, 161 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Li Niu

Committee Members

Alexander Shekhtman, Jayanti Pande, Mehmet Yigit, Jia Sheng, Haijun Chen


Alternative splicing, AMPA receptors, Ion channel kinetics, RNA editing, Synaptic transmission, Neurotransmitter receptors, Glutamic acid, Ion channels, Messenger RNA

Subject Categories



The propagation of information in the central nervous system is, in essence, the flow of ions. Neurons connect with each other to form neural circuits that perform distinct functions, and these connections are formed through synapses. Excitatory and inhibitory synapses determine the excitability of a neuron, which further dictates the firing of action potentials. The major ion channels that mediate the transmission at the excitatory synapses are ionotropic glutamate receptors, among which AMPA receptors are responsible for the fast excitatory transmission. Therefore, the functionalities of AMPA receptors substantially affect the information flow, and dysfunction of them could potentially cause many neurological disorders. AMPA receptors are tetrameric ion channels that are composed of four subunits GluA1 to GluA4; each subunit is further diversified by post-transcription (mRNA) and post-translation (protein) modifications. The expression of AMPA receptors variants across the central nervous system is tailored to the role played by synapses and neuron types in the neural circuits.

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Biochemistry Commons