The mossy fiber to CA3 pyramidal cell synapse (mf-CA3) provides a major source of excitation to the hippocampus. Thus far, these glutamatergic synapses are well recognized for showing a presynaptic, NMDA receptor-independent form of LTP that is expressed as a long-lasting increase of transmitter release. Here, we show that in addition to this "classical" LTP, mf-CA3 synapses can undergo a form of LTP characterized by a selective enhancement of NMDA receptor-mediated transmission. This potentiation requires coactivation of NMDA and mGlu5 receptors and a postsynaptic calcium rise. Unlike classical LTP, expression of this mossy fiber LTP is due to a PKC-dependent recruitment of NMDA receptors specifically to the mf-CA3 synapse via a SNARE-dependent process. Having two mechanistically different forms of LTP may allow mf-CA3 synapses to respond with more flexibility to the changing demands of the hippocampal network.
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