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FEBS Lett. 1992 Oct 26;311(3):285-9.

N-acetylaspartylglutamate acts as an agonist upon homomeric NMDA receptor (NMDAR1) expressed in Xenopus oocytes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neurochemistry, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The electrophysiological effects of N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), an endogenous peptide restrictively distributed in the central nervous system, were studied using Xenopus oocytes injected with RNAs transcribed from cloned glutamate receptor cDNAs. NAAG induced an inward current, dose dependently, in oocytes injected with RNA for an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit (NMDAR1). In contrast, the oocytes injected with RNAs for AMPA-selective glutamate receptors (GluR1, GluR3, GluR1+GluR2 and GluR2+GluR3) scarcely responded to NAAG, and the oocytes injected with RNA for kainate receptor (GluR6) did not respond to NAAG. The half-maximal response (ED50) value of NAAG on expressed NMDAR1 was 185 microM, which shows that NAAG is about 115-times less potent than L-glutamate (Glu), the ED50 of which value was 1.6 microM. The maximal current amplitude induced by NAAG was about 70% of that by Glu. NAAG-induced current in NMDAR1-injected oocytes was potentiated by glycine, dose-dependently antagonized by DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, and blocked by magnesium ions in a voltage-dependent fashion. These results suggest that NAAG is one of the endogenous agonists selective for NMDAR1.

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