NR3A modulates the outer vestibule of the "NMDA" receptor channel

Center for Neuroscience and Aging, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 01/2007; 26(51):13156-66. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2552-06.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Classical NMDA receptors (NMDARs), activated by glycine and glutamate, are heteromultimers comprised of NR1 and NR2 subunits. Coexpression of the novel NR3 family of NMDAR subunits decreases the magnitude of NR1/NR2 receptor-mediated currents or forms glycine-activated channels with the NR1 subunit alone. The second (M2) and third (M3) membrane segments of NR1 and NR2 subunits of classical NMDARs form the core of the channel permeation pathway. Structural information regarding NR1/NR3 channels remains unknown. Using the Xenopus oocyte expression system and the SCAM (substituted cysteine accessibility method), we found that M3 segments of both NR1 and NR3A form a narrow constriction in the outer vestibule of the channel, which prevents passage of externally applied sulfhydryl-specific agents. The most internal reactive residue in each M3 segment is the threonine in the conserved SYTANLAAF motif. These threonines appear to be symmetrically aligned. Several NR3A M3 mutations change the behavior of NR1/NR3A channels. Unlike NR1, however, the M3 segment of NR3A does not undergo extensive molecular rearrangement during channel gating by added glycine. Additionally, in the M2 segment, our data suggest that the amino acid at the asparagine (N) site of NR1, but not NR3A, contributes to the selectivity filter of NR1/3A channels. We therefore conclude that NR3A modulates the NR1/NR3A permeation pathway via a novel mechanism of forming a narrow constriction at the outer channel vestibule. This modified channel vestibule may also explain the dominant-negative effect of the NR3 subunit on channel behavior when coexpressed with NR1 and NR2 subunits.

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    • "The presence of GluN3A results in two distinct independent conductance states: the typical large conductance state, similar to what is found in conventional receptors, and the second significantly smaller, which exhibits a slight increase in mean opening time [14] [17] [38]. Ca 2+ permeability in GluN3A-containing NMDAR is significantly reduced [13] [14] [38] due to the constriction of the outer vestibule [37]. Another prominent feature of GluN3A-containing receptors is the insensitivity to Mg 2+ block at hyperpolarized potential: even with varying concentrations of Mg 2+ , GluN3A prevents a Mg 2+ block [13] [38] (Figure 1); these properties are further characterized in other reviews on GluN3; see [39] [40] [41]. "
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    ABSTRACT: N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) are pivotal for synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Conventional NMDAR consist of heterotetrameric structures composed of GluN1 and GluN2 subunits. A third subunit, GluN3, can also assemble with NMDAR subunits giving a remarkable modification of their heteromeric structure, forming a "nonconventional" NMDAR. As a consequence, the stoichiometry and kinetic properties of the receptors are dramatically changed. Among the GluN3 family, the GluN3A subunit has been the focus of a large amount of studies during recent years. These studies reveal that GluN3A is transiently expressed during development and could play a role in the fine tuning of neuronal networks as well as associated diseases. Moreover, GluN3A distribution outside the postsynaptic densities, including perisynaptic astrocytes, places it at a strategic position to play an important role in the interactions between neurons and glial cells. This review highlights GluN3A properties and addresses its role in neurophysiology and associated pathologies.
    Neural Plasticity 12/2013; 2013:145387. DOI:10.1155/2013/145387 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    • "Unlike NR1/NR2 NMDARs, the TM3 domain between NR1 and NR3A subunits has a symmetrical configuration that forms a ring of threonines. This ring constricts the external vestibule and may account for the observed reductions in Ca 2+ permeability, ionic currents, and magnesium (Mg 2+ ) sensitivity of NR3A- containing NMDARs (Wada et al., 2006). Another distinct characteristic is that the C-termini of NR3A and NR3B lack consensus sequences for PDZ domain protein-binding (Eriksson et al., 2007a; Matsuda et al., 2002), prominent features of other glutamate receptor subunits that permit stable anchoring to the postsynaptic density. "
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    ABSTRACT: Various combinations of subunits assemble to form the NMDA-type glutamate receptor (NMDAR), generating diversity in its functions. Here we review roles of the unique NMDAR subunit, NR3A, which acts in a dominant-negative manner to suppress receptor activity. NR3A-containing NMDARs display striking regional and temporal expression specificity, and, unlike most other NMDAR subtypes, they have a low conductance, are only modestly permeable to Ca(2+), and pass current at hyperpolarized potentials in the presence of magnesium. While glutamate activates triheteromeric NMDARs composed of NR1/NR2/NR3A subunits, glycine is sufficient to activate diheteromeric NR1/NR3A-containing receptors. NR3A dysfunction may contribute to neurological disorders involving NMDARs, and the subunit offers an attractive therapeutic target given its distinct pharmacological and structural properties.
    Progress in Neurobiology 05/2010; 91(1):23-37. DOI:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2010.01.004 · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition, a DRPEER motif in NR1 (Watanabe et al., 2002), a tryptophan residue in the M2 regions of NR2 subunits (Williams et al., 1998) and the common SYTANLAAF motif in TM3 (Yuan et al., 2005; Wada et al., 2006) affect the Mg 2+ block. Comparing the sequences of NR1, NR2 and NR3 subunits reveals a remarkable conservation of these regions, although especially within the QRN site and the SYTANLAAF motif several exchanges between NR1, NR2 and NR3 subunits are found. "
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    ABSTRACT: Glycine has diverse functions within the mammalian central nervous system. It inhibits postsynaptic neurons via strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors (GlyRs) and enhances neuronal excitation through co-activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Classical Ca(2+)-permeable NMDA receptors are composed of glycine-binding NR1 and glutamate-binding NR2 subunits, and hence require both glutamate and glycine for efficient activation. In contrast, recombinant receptors composed of NR1 and the glycine binding NR3A and/or NR3B subunits lack glutamate binding sites and can be activated by glycine alone. Therefore these receptors are also named "excitatory glycine receptors". Co-application of antagonists of the NR1 glycine-binding site or of the divalent cation Zn(2+) markedly enhances the glycine responses of these receptors. To gain further insight into the properties of these glycine-gated NMDA receptors, we investigated their current-voltage (I-V) dependence. Whole-cell current-voltage relations of glycine currents recorded from NR1/NR3B and NR1/NR3A/NR3B expressing oocytes were found to be linear under our recording conditions. In contrast, NR1/NR3A receptors displayed a strong outwardly rectifying I-V relation. Interestingly, the voltage-dependent inward current block was abolished in the presence of NR1 antagonists, Zn(2+) or a combination of both. Further analysis revealed that Ca(2+) (1.8 mM) present in our recording solutions was responsible for the voltage-dependent inhibition of ion flux through NR1/NR3A receptors. Since physiological concentrations of the divalent cation Mg(2+) did not affect the I-V dependence, our data suggest that relief of the voltage-dependent Ca(2+) block of NR1/NR3A receptors by Zn(2+) may be important for the regulation of excitatory glycinergic transmission, according to the Mg(2+)-block of conventional NR1/NR2 NMDA receptors.
    Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 03/2010; 3:6. DOI:10.3389/fnmol.2010.00006
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