The concepts of coexistence of transmitters and of receptor-receptor interactions have increased our understanding of the integrative processes regulating synaptic homeostasis and synaptic plasticity. Depending upon the ionotropic or metabotropic characteristics of the cotransmitter, it may be mainly involved in synaptic homeostasis or synaptic plasticity, respectively. A chemical trace of the postsynaptic activity can be obtained because of the plasticity of the receptor molecules. Thus, the heuristic hypothesis is introduced that islands of receptors located on postsynaptic membranes of local circuits can be formed by means of receptor-receptor interactions favouring ordered electrotonic sequences in the local circuits. This hypothesis has been named the receptor mosaic hypothesis of the engram. The islands or clusters of receptors can then store specific and complex information and when activated by the transmitters they may induce unique changes in ion permeability and cell metabolism which, at the local circuit level, can mimic exactly a previous electrotonic sequence. They can therefore represent at least part of the engram. This hypothesis is introduced against the background of the possible existence of different types of encodings of memory.
New vistas on synaptic plasticity: the receptor mosaic hypothesis of the engram / Agnati, Luigi Francesco; Fuxe, K; Zoli, Michele; Rondanini, C; Ogren, So. - In: MEDICAL BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0302-2137. - STAMPA. - 60:(1982), pp. 183-190.