Mechanistic and structural determinants of NMDA receptor voltage-dependent gating and slow Mg2+ unblock.
ABSTRACT: NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated currents depend on membrane depolarization to relieve powerful voltage-dependent NMDAR channel block by external magnesium (Mg(o)(2+)). Mg(o)(2+) unblock from native NMDARs exhibits a fast component that is consistent with rapid Mg(o)(2+) -unbinding kinetics and also a slower, millisecond time scale component (slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock). In recombinant NMDARs, slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock is prominent in GluN1/2A (an NMDAR subtype composed of GluN1 and GluN2A subunits) and GluN1/2B receptors, with slower kinetics observed for GluN1/2B receptors, but absent from GluN1/2C and GluN1/2D receptors. Slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock from GluN1/2B receptors results from inherent voltage-dependent gating, which increases channel open probability with depolarization. Here we examine the mechanisms responsible for NMDAR subtype dependence of slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock. We demonstrate that slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock from GluN1/2A receptors, like GluN1/2B receptors, results from inherent voltage-dependent gating. Surprisingly, GluN1/2A and GluN1/2B receptors exhibited equal inherent voltage dependence; faster Mg(o)(2+) unblock from GluN1/2A receptors can be explained by voltage-independent differences in gating kinetics. To investigate the absence of slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock in GluN1/2C and GluN1/2D receptors, we examined the GluN2 S/L site, a site responsible for several NMDAR subtype-dependent channel properties. Mutating the GluN2 S/L site of GluN2A subunits from serine (found in GluN2A and GluN2B subunits) to leucine (found in GluN2C and GluN2D) greatly diminished both voltage-dependent gating and slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock. Therefore, the residue at the GluN2 S/L site governs the expression of both slow Mg(o)(2+) unblock and inherent voltage dependence.
Project description:During development of the central nervous system, there is a shift in the subunit composition of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) resulting in a dramatic acceleration of NMDAR-mediated synaptic currents. This shift coincides with upregulation of the GluN2A subunit and triheteromeric GluN1/2A/2B receptors with fast deactivation kinetics, whereas expression of diheteromeric GluN1/2B receptors with slower deactivation kinetics is decreased. Here, we show that allosteric interactions occur between the glutamate-binding GluN2 subunits in triheteromeric GluN1/2A/2B NMDARs. This allosterism is dominated by the GluN2A subunit and results in functional properties not predicted by those of diheteromeric GluN1/2A and GluN1/2B NMDARs. These findings suggest that GluN1/2A/2B NMDARs may maintain some signaling properties of the GluN2B subunit while having the kinetic properties of GluN1/2A NMDARs and highlight the complexity in NMDAR signaling created by diversity in subunit composition.
Project description:NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are glutamate-gated ion channels that are present at most excitatory mammalian synapses. The four GluN2 subunits (GluN2A-D) contribute to four diheteromeric NMDAR subtypes that have divergent physiological and pathological roles. Channel properties that are fundamental to NMDAR function vary among subtypes. We investigated the amino acid residues responsible for variations in channel properties by creating and examining NMDARs containing mutant GluN2 subunits. We found that the NMDAR subtype specificity of three crucial channel properties, Mg(2+) block, selective permeability to Ca(2+) and single-channel conductance, were all controlled primarily by the residue at a single GluN2 site in the M3 transmembrane region. Mutant cycle analysis guided by molecular modeling revealed that a GluN2-GluN1 subunit interaction mediates the site's effects. We conclude that a single GluN2 subunit residue couples with the pore-forming loop of the GluN1 subunit to create naturally occurring variations in NMDAR properties that are critical to synaptic plasticity and learning.
Project description:NMDA receptors (NMDAR) are voltage- and glutamate-gated heteromeric ion channels found at excitatory neuronal synapses, the functions of which are to mediate the mechanisms of brain plasticity and, thereby, its higher order functions. In addition to Glu, the activation of these heteromeric receptors requires Gly or d-Ser as a coagonist. However, it is not fully known as to why coagonism is required for the opening of NMDAR ion channels. We show herein that the ligand binding domains (LBD) of the GluN1 and GluN2A subunits of the NMDAR heterodimerize only when both coagonists, Glu and Gly/d-Ser, bind to their respective sites on GluN2 and GluN1. In the agonist-free state, these domains form homomeric interactions, which are disrupted by binding of their respective agonists. Also, in a heteromer formed by the LBDs, GluN2A is more sensitized to bind Glu, while the affinity of Gly for GluN1 remains unchanged. We thus provide direct evidence to show that coagonism is necessary for heteromeric pairing of LBDs, which is an essential step in forming functional ion channels in NMDARs.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors mediate excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system and play critical roles in many neuronal processes. The physiologic roles of NMDA receptors are shaped by their functional properties, which are highly dependent on subunit composition. Most NMDA receptors are assembled from two GluN1 and two GluN2 subunits, but diversity in subunit composition is made possible by eight GluN1 splice variants (i.e., isoforms) and four distinct GluN2 subunits (GluN2A-D). We demonstrate using Förster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence lifetime imaging that GluN1-1a and GluN1-1b isoforms, which include or lack residues encoded by exon 5, form triheteromeric GluN1-1a/GluN1-1b/GluN2A (1a/1b/2A) and GluN1-1a/GluN1-1b/GluN2B (1a/1b/2B) receptors. We describe the selective expression of NMDA receptors containing two different GluN1 isoforms, and show that triheteromeric 1a/1b/2A and 1a/1b/2B receptors exhibit intermediate deactivation kinetics and pharmacological properties compared with the respective diheteromeric GluN1-1a/GluN1-1a/GluN2 and GluN1-1b/GluN1-1b/GluN2 receptors. These results highlight the intriguing possibility that neurons can finely tune NMDA receptor signaling by shifting the ratio of expressed GluN1-1a and GluN1-1b isoforms. Furthermore, we evaluate the contribution of channel pore residues to magnesium block and calcium permeability. These data point to the asymmetric contribution of pore residues in GluN1 and GluN2 to magnesium block, and reveal that a single copy of pore residues from GluN3 subunits strongly attenuates magnesium block and calcium permeability of NMDA receptors. Thus, the selective expression of NMDA receptors containing two distinct GluN1 isoforms provides new opportunities to study functional properties relevant to neuronal receptors.
Project description:NMDA-type glutamate receptors are ligand-gated ion channels that contribute to excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS). Most NMDA receptors comprise two glycine-binding GluN1 and two glutamate-binding GluN2 subunits (GluN2A-D). We describe highly potent (S)-5-[(R)-2-amino-2-carboxyethyl]-4,5-dihydro-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid (ACEPC) competitive GluN2 antagonists, of which ST3 has a binding affinity of 52 nM at GluN1/2A and 782 nM at GluN1/2B receptors. This 15-fold preference of ST3 for GluN1/2A over GluN1/2B is improved compared with NVP-AAM077, a widely used GluN2A-selective antagonist, which we show has 11-fold preference for GluN1/2A over GluN1/2B. Crystal structures of the GluN1/2A agonist binding domain (ABD) heterodimer with bound ACEPC antagonists reveal a binding mode in which the ligands occupy a cavity that extends toward the subunit interface between GluN1 and GluN2A ABDs. Mutational analyses show that the GluN2A preference of ST3 is primarily mediated by four nonconserved residues that are not directly contacting the ligand, but positioned within 12 Å of the glutamate binding site. Two of these residues influence the cavity occupied by ST3 in a manner that results in favorable binding to GluN2A, but occludes binding to GluN2B. Thus, we reveal opportunities for the design of subunit-selective competitive NMDA receptor antagonists by identifying a cavity for ligand binding in which variations exist between GluN2A and GluN2B subunits. This structural insight suggests that subunit selectivity of glutamate-site antagonists can be mediated by mechanisms in addition to direct contributions of contact residues to binding affinity.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), ligand-gated ionotropic glutamate receptors, play key roles in normal brain development and various neurological disorders. Here we use standing variation data from the human population to assess which protein domains within NMDAR GluN1, GluN2A and GluN2B subunits show the strongest signal for being depleted of missense variants. We find that this includes the GluN2 pre-M1 helix and linker between the agonist-binding domain (ABD) and first transmembrane domain (M1). We then evaluate the functional changes of multiple missense mutations in the NMDAR pre-M1 helix found in children with epilepsy and developmental delay. We find mutant GluN1/GluN2A receptors exhibit prolonged glutamate response time course for channels containing 1 or 2 GluN2A-P552R subunits, and a slow rise time only for receptors with 2 mutant subunits, suggesting rearrangement of one GluN2A pre-M1 helix is sufficient for rapid activation. GluN2A-P552R and analogous mutations in other GluN subunits increased the agonist potency and slowed response time course, suggesting a functionally conserved role for this residue. Although there is no detectable change in surface expression or open probability for GluN2A-P552R, the prolonged response time course for receptors that contained GluN2A-P552R increased charge transfer for synaptic-like activation, which should promote excitotoxic damage. Transfection of cultured neurons with GluN2A-P552R prolonged EPSPs, and triggered pronounced dendritic swelling in addition to excitotoxicity, which were both attenuated by memantine. These data implicate the pre-M1 region in gating, provide insight into how different subunits contribute to gating, and suggest that mutations in the pre-M1 helix can compromise neuronal health. Evaluation of FDA-approved NMDAR inhibitors on the mutant NMDAR-mediated current response and neuronal damage provides a potential clinical path to treat individuals harboring similar mutations in NMDARs.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-Aspartate Receptors (NMDARs) are ionotropic glutamate-gated receptors. NMDARs are tetramers composed by several homologous subunits of GluN1-, GluN2-, or GluN3-type, leading to the existence in the central nervous system of a high variety of receptor subtypes with different pharmacological and signaling properties. NMDAR subunit composition is strictly regulated during development and by activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Given the differences between GluN2 regulatory subunits of NMDAR in several functions, here we will focus on the synaptic pool of NMDARs containing the GluN2A subunit, addressing its role in both physiology and pathological synaptic plasticity as well as the contribution in these events of different types of GluN2A-interacting proteins.
Project description:The N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), a ligand-gated ionotropic glutamate receptor, plays important roles in normal brain development and a wide range of neurologic disorders, including epilepsy. Here, we evaluate for the first time the functional properties of a de novo GRIN2A missense mutation (p.M817V) in the pre-M4 linker in a child with profound global developmental delay and refractory epilepsy. Electrophysiologic recordings revealed that the mutant GluN2A(M817V)-containing receptors showed enhanced agonist potency, reduced sensitivity to endogenous negative inhibitors (Mg2+, proton, and zinc), prolonged synaptic-like response time course, increased single-channel mean open time, and increased channel open probability. These results suggest that the gain-of-function M817V mutation causes overactivation of NMDAR and drives neuronal hyperexcitability, which may contribute to the patient's observed epileptic phenotype. Molecular modeling of the closed channel conformation reveals that this mutation weakens the interaction between GluN2 transmembrane helix M4 and two GluN1 transmembrane helices, and increases atomic fluctuation or movement of the pre-M1 region of GluN1 subunit, suggesting a mechanism by which channel function is enhanced. The functional changes of this mutation on agonist potency occur when the mutation is introduced into all other GluN2 subunits, suggesting a conserved role of this residue in control of NMDAR function through interactions of membrane spanning GluN2 and GluN1 helices. A number of NMDAR-targeted drugs including U.S. Food and Drug Association-approved NMDAR channel blockers were evaluated for their ability to inhibit receptors containing GluN2A(M817V) as a first step to exploring the potential for rescue pharmacology and personalized medicine.
Project description:It is currently unclear whether the GluN2 subtype influences NMDA receptor (NMDAR) excitotoxicity. We report that the toxicity of NMDAR-mediated Ca(2+) influx is differentially controlled by the cytoplasmic C-terminal domains of GluN2B (CTD(2B)) and GluN2A (CTD(2A)). Studying the effects of acute expression of GluN2A/2B-based chimeric subunits with reciprocal exchanges of their CTDs revealed that CTD(2B) enhances NMDAR toxicity, compared to CTD(2A). Furthermore, the vulnerability of forebrain neurons in vitro and in vivo to NMDAR-dependent Ca(2+) influx is lowered by replacing the CTD of GluN2B with that of GluN2A by targeted exon exchange in a mouse knockin model. Mechanistically, CTD(2B) exhibits stronger physical/functional coupling to the PSD-95-nNOS pathway, which suppresses protective CREB activation. Dependence of NMDAR excitotoxicity on the GluN2 CTD subtype can be overcome by inducing high levels of NMDAR activity. Thus, the identity (2A versus 2B) of the GluN2 CTD controls the toxicity dose-response to episodes of NMDAR activity.
Project description:NMDA receptors are tetrameric ligand-gated ion channels comprised of GluN1, GluN2, and GluN3 subunits. Two different GluN2 subunits have been identified in most NMDA receptor-expressing cells, and the majority of native receptors are triheteromers containing two GluN1 and two different GluN2. In contrast to diheteromeric NMDA receptors, little is known about the function of triheteromers. We developed a method to provide selective cell-surface expression of recombinant GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2B triheteromers and compared properties of these receptors with those of GluN1/GluN2A and GluN1/GluN2B diheteromers. We show that glutamate deactivation of triheteromers is distinct from those of GluN1/GluN2A and GluN1/GluN2B and reveal modulation of triheteromers by subunit-selective antagonists ifenprodil, CP-101,606, TCN-201, and extracellular Zn(2+). Furthermore, kinetic measurements suggest variation in the ifenprodil binding site of triheteromers compared to GluN1/GluN2B diheteromers. This work provides insight into the distinct properties of GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2B triheteromers, which are presumably the most abundant NMDA receptors in the adult forebrain.