Potentiation of glycine-gated NR1/NR3A NMDA receptors relieves Ca2+-dependent outward rectification

  • 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 Ca2+-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 Zn2+ 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, Zn2+ or a combination of both. Further analysis revealed that Ca2+ (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 Mg2+ did not affect the I–V dependence, our data suggest that relief of the voltage-dependent Ca2+ block of NR1/NR3A receptors by Zn2+ may be important for the regulation of excitatory glycinergic transmission, according to the Mg2+-block of conventional NR1/NR2 NMDA receptors. Keywords: NMDA receptor, excitatory glycine receptor, voltage block, NR3 subunit, supralinear potentiation, Zn2+, NR1 antagonist, ligand-binding domain

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Author:Christian Madry, Heinrich BetzGND, Jörg R. P. Geiger, Bodo LaubeORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):Frontiers in molecular neuroscience
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2010/10/26
Year of first Publication:2010
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/10/26
Tag:NMDA receptor; NR1 antagonist; NR3 subunit; Zn2+; excitatory glycine receptor; ligand-binding domain; supralinear potentiation; voltage block
Copyright © 2010 Madry, Betz, Geiger and Laube. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
Source:Frontiers in molecular neuroscience 2010, 3:6 ; doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2010.00006
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht