Assembly Stoichiometry of the GluK2/GluK5 Kainate Receptor Complex

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Cell Reports (Impact Factor: 8.36). 03/2012; 1(3):234-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.01.003
Source: PubMed


Ionotropic glutamate receptors assemble as homo- or heterotetramers. One well-studied heteromeric complex is formed by the kainate receptor subunits GluK2 and GluK5. Retention motifs prevent trafficking of GluK5 homomers to the plasma membrane, but coassembly with GluK2 yields functional heteromeric receptors. Additional control over GluK2/GluK5 assembly seems to be exerted by the aminoterminal domains, which preferentially assemble into heterodimers as isolated domains. However,the stoichiometry of the full-length GluK2/GluK5 receptor complex has yet to be determined, as is the case for all non-NMDA glutamate receptors. Here, we address this question, using a single-molecule imaging technique that enables direct counting of the number of each GluK subunit type in homomeric and heteromeric receptors in the plasma membranes of live cells. We show that GluK2 and GluK5 assemble with 2:2 stoichiometry. This is an important step toward understanding the assembly mechanism, architecture, and functional consequences of heteromer formation in ionotropic glutamate receptors.

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