Activation of glutamate transporters in rods inhibits presynaptic calcium currents

Katalin Rabl, Eric J. Bryson, Wallace B. Thoreson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We found that L-glutamate (L-Glu) inhibits L-type Ca2+ currents (ICa) in rod photoreceptors. This inhibition was studied in isolated rods or rods in retinal slices from tiger salamander using perforated patch whole cell recordings and Cl-imaging techniques. Application of L-Glu inhibited ICa by ∼20% at 0.1 mM and ∼35% at 1 mM. L-Glu also produced an inward current that reversed around ECl. The metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonists t-ADA (Group I), DCG-IV (Group II), and L-AP4 (Group III) had no effect on ICa. However, the glutamate transport inhibitor, TBOA (0.1 mM), prevented L-Glu from inhibiting ICa. D-aspartate (D-Asp), a glutamate transporter substrate, also inhibited ICa with significantly more inhibition at 1 mM than 0.1 mM. Using Cl- imaging, L-Glu (0.1-1 mM) and D-Asp (0.1-1 mM) were found to stimulate a Cl- efflux from terminals of isolated rods whereas the ionotropic glutamate receptor agonists NMDA, AMPA, and kainate and the mGluR agonist, 1S,3R-ACPD, did not. Glutamate-evoked Cl- effluxes were blocked by the glutamate transport inhibitors TBOA and DHKA. Cl - efflux inhibits Ca2+ channel activity in rod terminals (Thoreson et al. (2000), Visual Neuroscience 17, 197). Consistent with the possibility that glutamate-evoked Cl- efflux may play a role in the inhibition, reducing intraterminal Cl- prevented L-Glu from inhibiting ICa. In summary, the results indicate that activation of glutamate transporters inhibits ICa in rods possibly as a consequence of Cl- efflux. The neurotransmitter L-Glu released from rod terminals might thus provide a negative feedback signal to inhibit further L-Glu release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-566
Number of pages10
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Glutamate transporter
  • L-type calcium channel
  • Photoreceptor
  • Retina
  • Tiger salamander

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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