Triheteromeric GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C NMDARs with Unique Single-Channel Properties Are the Dominant Receptor Population in Cerebellar Granule Cells.
ABSTRACT: NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate excitatory neurotransmission in the CNS. Here we describe functional and single-channel properties of triheteromeric GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C receptors, which contain two GluN1, one GluN2A, and one GluN2C subunits. This NMDAR has three conductance levels and opens in bursts similar to GluN1/GluN2A receptors but with a single-channel open time and open probability reminiscent of GluN1/GluN2C receptors. The deactivation time course of GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C receptors is intermediate to GluN1/GluN2A and GluN1/GluN2C receptors and is not dominated by GluN2A or GluN2C. We show that triheteromeric GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C receptors are the predominant NMDARs in cerebellar granule cells and propose that co-expression of GluN2A and GluN2C in cerebellar granule cells occludes cell surface expression of diheteromeric GluN1/GluN2C receptors. This new insight into neuronal GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C receptors highlights the complexity of NMDAR signaling in the CNS.
Project description:N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are ionotropic glutamate receptors that mediate excitatory synaptic transmission and have been implicated in numerous neurological disorders. NMDARs typically comprise two GluN1 and two GluN2 subunits. The four GluN2 subtypes (GluN2A-GluN2D) have distinct functional properties and gene expression patterns, which contribute to diverse functional roles for NMDARs in the brain. Here, we present a series of GluN2C/2D-selective negative allosteric modulators built around a N-aryl benzamide (NAB) core. The prototypical compound, NAB-14, is >800-fold selective for recombinant GluN2C/GluN2D over GluN2A/GluN2B in Xenopus oocytes and has an IC50 value of 580 nM at recombinant GluN2D-containing receptors expressed in mammalian cells. NAB-14 inhibits triheteromeric (GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C) NMDARs with modestly reduced potency and efficacy compared to diheteromeric (GluN1/GluN2C/GluN2C) receptors. Site-directed mutagenesis suggests that structural determinants for NAB-14 inhibition reside in the GluN2D M1 transmembrane helix. NAB-14 inhibits GluN2D-mediated synaptic currents in rat subthalamic neurons and mouse hippocampal interneurons, but has no effect on synaptic transmission in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, which do not express GluN2C or GluN2D. This series possesses some druglike physical properties and modest brain permeability in rat and mouse. Altogether, this work identifies a new series of negative allosteric modulators that are valuable tools for studying GluN2C- and GluN2D-containing NMDAR function in brain circuits, and suggests that the series has the potential to be developed into therapies for selectively modulating brain circuits involving the GluN2C and GluN2D subunits.
Project description:N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are heterotetrameric ion channels assembled as diheteromeric or triheteromeric complexes. Here, we report structures of the triheteromeric GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2B receptor in the absence or presence of the GluN2B-specific allosteric modulator Ro 25-6981 (Ro), determined by cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). In the absence of Ro, the GluN2A and GluN2B amino-terminal domains (ATDs) adopt "closed" and "open" clefts, respectively. Upon binding Ro, the GluN2B ATD clamshell transitions from an open to a closed conformation. Consistent with a predominance of the GluN2A subunit in ion channel gating, the GluN2A subunit interacts more extensively with GluN1 subunits throughout the receptor, in comparison with the GluN2B subunit. Differences in the conformation of the pseudo-2-fold-related GluN1 subunits further reflect receptor asymmetry. The triheteromeric NMDAR structures provide the first view of the most common NMDA receptor assembly and show how incorporation of two different GluN2 subunits modifies receptor symmetry and subunit interactions, allowing each subunit to uniquely influence receptor structure and function, thus increasing receptor complexity.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are glutamate-gated ion channels that play crucial roles in brain development and synaptic plasticity. They are also therapeutic targets of interest since their dysfunction is associated with multiple neurological and psychiatric disorders. In vivo, NMDARs exist as multiple subtypes that differ in their subunit composition, anatomical distribution, functional properties, as well as signaling capacities. While much is known about diheteromeric NMDARs composed of two GluN1 subunits and two identical GluN2 (or GluN3) subunits, the majority of native NMDARs are triheteromers containing two GluN1 and two different GluN2 (or a combination of GluN2 and GluN3). Knowledge about triheteromeric NMDARs has recently boomed, with the first decoding of their atomic structure and the development of a new methodology allowing selective expression of recombinant triheteromers at the cell-surface without confounding co-expression of diheteromers. Here we review these progresses and highlight the unique attributes of triheteromers. Particular emphasis is put on GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2B triheteromers, presumably the most abundant NMDARs in the adult forebrain and critical actors of synaptic plasticity. Better understanding triheteromeric NMDAR structure and function is of major interest for brain physiology and drug discovery.
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 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:NMDA receptors are tetrameric complexes of GluN1, GluN2A-D, and GluN3A-B subunits and are involved in normal brain function and neurologic disorders. We identified a novel class of stereoselective pyrrolidinone (PYD) positive allosteric modulators for GluN2C-containing NMDA receptors, exemplified by methyl 4-(3-acetyl-4-hydroxy-1-[2-(2-methyl-1H-indol-3-yl)ethyl]-5-oxo-2,5-dihydro-1H-pyrrol-2-yl)benzoate. Here we explore the site and mechanism of action of a prototypical analog, PYD-106, which at 30 ?M does not alter responses of NMDA receptors containing GluN2A, GluN2B, and GluN2D and has no effect on AMPA [?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid] and kainate receptors. Coapplication of 50 ?M PYD-106 with a maximally effective concentration of glutamate and glycine increases the response of GluN1/GluN2C NMDA receptors in HEK-293 cells to 221% of that obtained in the absence of PYD (taken as 100%). Evaluation of the concentration dependence of this enhancement revealed an EC50 value for PYD of 13 ?M. PYD-106 increased opening frequency and open time of single channel currents activated by maximally effective concentrations of agonist but only had modest effects on glutamate and glycine EC50. PYD-106 selectively enhanced the responses of diheteromeric GluN1/GluN2C receptors but not triheteromeric GluN1/GluN2A/GluN2C receptors. Inclusion of residues encoded by GluN1-exon 5 attenuated the effects of PYD. Three GluN2C residues (Arg194, Ser470, Lys470), at which mutagenesis virtually eliminated PYD function, line a cavity at the interface of the ligand binding and the amino terminal domains in a homology model of GluN1/GluN2C built from crystallographic data on GluN1/GluN2B. We propose that this domain interface constitutes a new allosteric modulatory site on the NMDA receptor.
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:Amyloid beta (A?)-mediated synapse dysfunction and spine loss are considered to be early events in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have previously been suggested to play a role for Amyloid beta (A?) toxicity. Pharmacological block of NMDAR subunits in cultured neurons and mice suggested that NMDARs containing the GluN2B subunit are necessary for A?-mediated changes in synapse number and function in hippocampal neurons. Interestingly, NMDARs undergo a developmental switch from GluN2B- to GluN2A-containing receptors. This indicates different functional roles of NMDARs in young mice compared to older animals. In addition, the lack of pharmacological tools to efficiently dissect the role of NMDARs containing the different subunits complicates the interpretation of their specific role. In order to address this problem and to investigate the specific role for A? toxicity of the distinct NMDAR subunits in dentate gyrus granule cells of adult mice, we used conditional knockout mouse lines for the subunits GluN1, GluN2A and GluN2B. A?-mediated changes in synaptic function and neuronal anatomy were investigated in several-months old mice with virus-mediated overproduction of A? and in 1-year old 5xFAD mice. We found that all three NMDAR subunits contribute to the A?-mediated decrease in the number of functional synapses. However, NMDARs are not required for the spine number reduction in dentate gyrus granule cells after chronic A?-overproduction in 5xFAD mice. Furthermore, the amplitude of synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDAR-mediated currents was reduced in dentate gyrus granule of 5xFAD mice without changes in current kinetics, suggesting that a redistribution or change in subunit composition of NMDARs does not play a role in mediating Amyloid beta (A?) toxicity. Our study indicates that NMDARs are involved in AD pathogenesis by compromising synapse function but not by affecting neuron morphology.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors (NMDARs) play a pivotal role in neural development and synaptic plasticity, as well as in neurological disease. Since NMDARs exert their function at the cell surface, their density in the plasma membrane is finely tuned by a plethora of molecules that regulate their production, trafficking, docking and internalization in response to external stimuli. In addition to transcriptional regulation, the density of NMDARs is also influenced by post-translational mechanisms like phosphorylation, a modification that also affects their biophysical properties. We previously described the increased surface expression of GluN1/GluN2A receptors in transgenic mice overexpressing the Dual specificity tyrosine-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A), suggesting that DYRK1A regulates NMDARs. Here we have further investigated whether the density and activity of NMDARs were modulated by DYRK1A phosphorylation. Accordingly, we show that endogenous DYRK1A is recruited to GluN2A-containing NMDARs in the adult mouse brain, and we identify a DYRK1A phosphorylation site at Ser(1048) of GluN2A, within its intracellular C-terminal domain. Mechanistically, the DYRK1A-dependent phosphorylation of GluN2A at Ser(1048) hinders the internalization of GluN1/GluN2A, causing an increase of surface GluN1/GluN2A in heterologous systems, as well as in primary cortical neurons. Furthermore, GluN2A phosphorylation at Ser(1048) increases the current density and potentiates the gating of GluN1/GluN2A receptors. We conclude that DYRK1A is a direct regulator of NMDA receptors and we propose a novel mechanism for the control of NMDAR activity in neurons.
Project description:The N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) constitute an important class of ligand-gated cation channels that are involved in the majority of excitatory neurotransmission in the human brain. Compounds that bind in the NMDAR ion channel and act as blockers are use- and voltage-dependent inhibitors of NMDAR activity and have therapeutic potential for treatment of a variety of brain diseases or as pharmacological tools for studies of the neurobiological role of NMDARs. We have performed a kinetic analysis of the blocking mechanism of the prototypical polyamine toxin NMDAR ion channel blocker argiotoxin-636 (ArgTX-636) at recombinant GluN1/2A receptors to provide detailed information on the mechanism of block. The predicted binding site of ArgTX-636 is in the pore region of the NMDAR ion channel formed by residues in the transmembrane M3 and the M2 pore-loop segments of the GluN1 and GluN2A subunits. To assess the predicted binding mode in further detail, we performed an alanine- and glycine-scanning mutational analysis of this pore-loop segment to systematically probe the role of pore-lining M2 residues in GluN1 and GluN2A in the channel block by ArgTX-636. Comparison of M2 positions in GluN1 and GluN2A where mutation influences ArgTX-636 potency suggests differential contribution of the M2-loops of GluN1 and GluN2A to binding of ArgTX-636. The results of the mutational analysis are highly relevant for the future structure-based development of argiotoxin-derived NMDAR channel blockers.