An endoplasmic reticulum retention signal located in the extracellular amino-terminal domain of the NR2A subunit of N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptors.
ABSTRACT: N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors play critical roles in complex brain functions as well as pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. There are many NMDA isoforms and subunit types that, together with subtype-specific assembly, give rise to significant functional heterogeneity of NMDA receptors. Conventional NMDA receptors are obligatory heterotetramers composed of two glycine-binding NR1 subunits and two glutamate-binding NR2 subunits. When individually expressed in heterogeneous cells, most of the NR1 splice variants and the NR2 subunits remain in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and do not form homomeric channels. The mechanisms underlying NMDA receptor trafficking and functional expression remain uncertain. Using truncated and chimeric NMDA receptor subunits expressed in heterogeneous cells and hippocampal neurons, together with immunostaining, biochemical, and functional analyses, we found that the NR2A amino-terminal domain (ATD) contains an ER retention signal, which can be specifically masked by the NR1a ATD. Interestingly, no such signal was found in the ATD of the NR2B subunit. We further identified the A2 segment of the NR2A ATD to be the primary determinant of ER retention. These findings indicate that NR2A-containing NMDA receptors may undergo a different ER quality control process from NR2B-containing NMDA receptors.
Project description:NMDA receptors comprised of different NR2 subunits exhibit strikingly unique biophysical and pharmacological properties. Here, we report that the extracellular amino-terminal domain (ATD) of the NR2 subunit controls pharmacological and kinetic properties of recombinant NMDA receptors, such as agonist potency, deactivation time course, open probability (P(OPEN)), and mean open/shut duration. Using ATD deletion mutants of NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, NR2D, and chimeras of NR2A and NR2D with interchanged ATD [NR2A-(2D-ATD) and NR2D-(2A-ATD)], we show that the ATD contributes to the low glutamate potency of NR2A-containing NMDA receptors and the high glutamate potency of NR2D-containing receptors. The ATD influences the deactivation time courses of NMDA receptors, as removal of the ATD from NR2A slows the deactivation rate, while removal of the ATD from NR2B, NR2C and NR2D accelerates the deactivation rate. Open probability also is influenced by the ATD. Removal of the ATD from NR2A or replacement of the NR2A-ATD with that of NR2D decreases P(OPEN) in single-channel recordings from outside-out patches of HEK 293 cells. In contrast, deletion of the ATD from NR2D or replacement of the NR2D ATD with that of NR2A increases P(OPEN) and mean open duration. These data demonstrate the modular nature of NMDA receptors, and show that the ATD of the different NR2 subunits plays an important role in fine-tuning the functional properties of the individual NMDA receptor subtypes.
Project description:1. The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulphate (PS) potentiates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor mediated responses in various neuronal preparations. The NR1 subunit can combine with NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, or NR2D subunits to form functional receptors. Differential NR2 subunit expression in brain and during development raises the question of how the NR2 subunit influences NMDA receptor modulation by neuroactive steroids. 2. We examined the effects of PS on the four diheteromeric NMDA receptor subtypes generated by co-expressing the NR1(100) subunit with each of the four NR2 subunits in Xenopus oocytes. Whereas PS potentiated NMDA-, glutamate-, and glycine-induced currents of NR1/NR2A and NR1/NR2B receptors, it was inhibitory at NR1/NR2C and NR1/NR2D receptors. 3. In contrast, pregnanolone sulphate (3alpha5betaS), a negative modulator of the NMDA receptor that acts at a distinct site from PS, inhibited all four subtypes, but was approximately 4 fold more potent at NR1/NR2C and NR1/NR2D than at NR1/NR2A and NR1/NR2B receptors. 4. These findings demonstrate that residues on the NR2 subunit are key determinants of modulation by PS and 3alpha5betaS. The modulatory effects of PS, but not 3alpha5betaS, on dose-response curves for NMDA, glutamate, and glycine are consistent with a two-state model in which PS either stabilizes or destabilizes the active state of the receptor, depending upon which NR2 subunit is present. 5. The selectivity of sulphated steroid modulators for NMDA receptors of specific subunit composition is consistent with a neuromodulatory role for endogenous sulphated steroids. The results indicate that it may be possible to develop therapeutic agents that target steroid modulatory sites of specific NMDA receptor subtypes.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit-specific probes were used to characterize developmental changes in the distribution of excitatory amino acid receptors in the chicken's auditory brainstem nuclei. Although NR1 subunit expression does not change greatly during the development of the cochlear nuclei in the chicken (Tang and Carr  Hear. Res 191:79-89), there are significant developmental changes in NR2 subunit expression. We used in situ hybridization against NR1, NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, and NR2D to compare NR1 and NR2 expression during development. All five NMDA subunits were expressed in the auditory brainstem before embryonic day (E) 10, when electrical activity and synaptic responses appear in the nucleus magnocellularis (NM) and the nucleus laminaris (NL). At this time, the dominant form of the receptor appeared to contain NR1 and NR2B. NR2A appeared to replace NR2B by E14, a time that coincides with synaptic refinement and evoked auditory responses. NR2C did not change greatly during auditory development, whereas NR2D increased from E10 and remained at fairly high levels into adulthood. Thus changes in NMDA NR2 receptor subunits may contribute to the development of auditory brainstem responses in the chick.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are expressed at excitatory synapses throughout the brain and are essential for neuronal development and synaptic plasticity. Functional NMDA receptors are tetramers, typically composed of NR1 and NR2 subunits (NR2A-D). NR2A and NR2B are expressed in the forebrain and are thought to assemble as diheteromers (NR1/NR2A, NR1/NR2B) and triheteromers (NR1/NR2A/NR2B). NR2A and NR2B contain cytosolic domains that regulate distinct postendocytic sorting events, with NR2A sorting predominantly into the degradation pathway, and NR2B preferentially trafficking through the recycling pathway. However, the interplay between these two subunits remains an open question. We have now developed a novel approach based on the dimeric feature of the alpha- and beta-chains of the human major histocompatibility complex class II molecule. We created chimeras of alpha- and beta-chains with the NR2A and NR2B C termini and evaluated endocytosis of dimers. Like chimeric proteins containing only a single NR2A or NR2B C-terminal domain, major histocompatibility complex class II-NR2A homodimers sort predominantly to late endosomes, whereas NR2B homodimers traffic to recycling endosomes. Interestingly, NR2A/NR2B heterodimers traffic preferentially through the recycling pathway, and NR2B is dominant in regulating dimer trafficking in both heterologous cells and neurons. In addition, the recycling of NR2B-containing NMDARs in wild-type neurons is not significantly different from NR2A(-/-) neurons. These data support a dominant role for NR2B in regulating the trafficking of triheteromeric NMDARs in vivo. Furthermore, our molecular approach allows for the direct and selective evaluation of dimeric assemblies and can be used to define dominant trafficking domains in other multisubunit protein complexes.
Project description:Eukaryotic ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits possess a large N-terminal domain (NTD) distinct from the neighboring agonist-binding domain. In NMDA receptors, the NTDs of NR2A and NR2B form modulatory domains binding allosteric inhibitors. Despite a high sequence homology, these two domains have been shown to bind two ligands of strikingly different chemical nature. Whereas the NTD of NR2A binds zinc with high (nanomolar) affinity, the NTD of NR2B binds the synthetic neuroprotectant ifenprodil and its derivatives. Using both NTD-mutated/deleted receptors and isolated NTDs, we now show that the NTD of NR2B, in contrast to NR2C and NR2D, also binds zinc, but with a lower affinity. Furthermore, we present evidence that zinc and ifenprodil compete for an overlapping binding site. This modulatory binding site accounts for the submicromolar zinc inhibition of NR1/NR2B receptors. Given that zinc is accumulated and released at many glutamatergic synapses in the CNS, these findings suggest that zinc is the endogenous ligand of the NTD of both NR2A and NR2B, the two major NR2 subunits. Thus, NMDA receptors contain zinc sensors capable of detecting extracellular zinc over a wide concentration range depending on their NR2 subunit composition. The coexistence of subunit-specific zinc-binding sites of high (nanomolar) and low (micromolar) affinity on NMDA receptors raises the possibility that zinc exerts both a tonic and a phasic control of membrane excitability.
Project description:NMDA receptors are glutamate-gated ion channels that play important roles in synaptic transmission and excitotoxicity. The functional NMDA receptor is thought to be a heterotetramer composed mainly of two NR1 and two NR2 subunits. Although it is generally accepted that only correctly assembled NMDA receptors can pass the ER quality control, the mechanism underlying this process is not well understood. Using truncated and chimeric NMDA receptor subunits expressed in heterologous cells and cortical neurons, we found that the third membrane domains (M3) of both NR1 and NR2B contain signals that cause the unassembled subunits to be retained in the ER. M3 of both NR1 and NR2B and, M4 of NR1, are necessary for masking ER retention signals found in M3. Thus, our data reveal a critical role of the membrane domains in the assembly of functional NMDA receptors.
Project description:NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) are major contributors to long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity implicated in the process of learning and memory. These receptors consist of calcium-permeating NR1 and multiple regulatory NR2 subunits. A majority of studies show that both NR2A and NR2B-containing NMDARs can contribute to LTP, but their unique contributions to this form of synaptic plasticity remain poorly understood.In this study, we show that NR2A and NR2B-containing receptors promote LTP differently in the CA1 hippocampus of 1-month old mice, with the NR2A receptors functioning through Ras-GRF2 and its downstream effector, Erk Map kinase, and NR2B receptors functioning independently of these signaling molecules.This study demonstrates that NR2A-, but not NR2B, containing NMDA receptors induce LTP in pyramidal neurons of the CA1 hippocampus from 1 month old mice through Ras-GRF2 and Erk. This difference add new significance to the observation that the relative levels of these NMDAR subtypes is regulated in neurons, such that NR2A-containing receptors become more prominent late in postnatal development, after sensory experience and synaptic activity.
Project description:N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) play an important role in many aspects of nervous system function such as synaptic plasticity and neuronal development. NMDARs are heteromers consisting of an obligate NR1 and most commonly one or two kinds of NR2 subunits. While the receptors have been well characterized in some vertebrate and invertebrate systems, information about NMDARs in Xenopus laevis brain is incomplete. Here we provide biochemical evidence that the NR1, NR2A and NR2B subunits of NMDARs are expressed in the central nervous system of X. laevis tadpoles. The NR1-4a/b splice variants appear to be the predominant isoforms while the NR1-3a/b variants appear to be expressed at low levels. We cloned the X. laevis NR2A and NR2B subunits and provide a detailed annotation of their functional domains in comparison with NR2A and NR2B proteins from 10 and 13 other species, respectively. Both NR2A and NR2B proteins are remarkably well conserved between species, consistent with the importance of NMDARs in nervous system function.
Project description:The NR2 subunit composition of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) varies during development, and this change is important in NMDAR-dependent signaling. In particular, synaptic NMDAR switch from containing mostly NR2B subunit to a mixture of NR2B and NR2A subunits. The pathways by which neurons differentially traffic NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDARs are poorly understood. Using single-particle and -molecule approaches and specific antibodies directed against NR2A and NR2B extracellular epitopes, we investigated the surface mobility of native NR2A and NR2B subunits at the surface of cultured neurons. The surface mobility of NMDARs depends on the NR2 subunit subtype, with NR2A-containing NMDARs being more stable than NR2B-containing ones, and NR2A subunit overexpression stabilizes surface NR2B-containing NMDARs. The developmental change in the synaptic surface content of NR2A and NR2B subunits was correlated with a developmental change in the time spent by the subunits within synapses. This suggests that the switch in synaptic NMDAR subtypes depends on the regulation of the receptor surface trafficking.
Project description:Phosphorylation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors is a major regulatory mechanism underlying synaptic plasticity. However, changes in NMDA receptors and phosphorylation after traumatic brain injury (TBI) remain incompletely understood. Using an animal TBI model, we observed that the protein level of NMDA receptor subunit NR2B was downregulated in synaptosomal fractions obtained from the ipsilateral neocortical injury region, whereas the levels of NR2A, NR1, and PSD93 were not significantly altered at 4 and 24 hours after TBI. Further investigation showed that tyrosine phosphorylations of NR2B Y1472 and PSD93 Y340 in synaptosomal fractions were significantly decreased relative to their total protein level after TBI. Correspondingly, phosphorylation of the Src-kinase-inhibitory site Y527 was increased, whereas phosphorylation of the activation site Y416 was decreased, indicating that the activity of Src kinase is significantly inhibited after TBI. In comparison, other Src family kinase substrates of NMDA receptor, NR2A Y1246, NR2A Y1325, and NR2B Y1070 were not obviously affected after TBI. The results suggest that TBI downregulates the Src-kinase-mediated phosphorylation of NR2 and PSD93 to destabilize the synaptic localization of NMDA receptors. Therefore, post-TBI loss of NMDA receptors may contribute to the depression of synaptic activity after TBI.