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Stroke. 2013 Jan;44(1):170-6. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.667253. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Phosphorylation and assembly of glutamate receptors after brain ischemia.

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  • 1University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



Overassembly of synaptic glutamate receptors leads to excitotoxicity. The goal of this study is to investigate phosphorylation and assembly of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors after brain ischemia with reperfusion (I/R).


Rats were subjected to 15 minutes of global ischemia followed by 0.5, 4, and 24 hours of reperfusion. Phosphotyrosine peptides of glutamate receptors in synaptosomal fraction after I/R were identified and quantified by state-of-the-art immuno-affinity purification of phosphotyrosine peptides followed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry analysis (immunoaffinity purification-coupled liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry). Glutamate receptor phosphorylation and synaptic assembly after I/R were studied by biochemical methods.


Numerous phosphotyrosine-sites of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate were upregulated by approximately 2- to 37-fold after I/R. A core glutamate receptor kinase, Src kinase, was significantly activated. GluR2/3 and NR2A/B were rapidly clustered from extrasynaptic to synaptic membrane fractions after I/R. GluR2/3 was then translocated into the intracellular pool, whereas NR2A/B remained in the synaptic fraction for as long as 24 hours. Consistently, trafficking-related phosphorylation of GluR2/3-S880 was significantly but transiently upregulated, whereas NR2A/B-Y1246 and NR2A/B-Y1472 were significantly and persistently upregulated after I/R.


Phosphorylation of glutamate receptors at synapses may lead to overassembly of glutamate receptors, probably via activation of Src family kinases, after I/R. This study provides global proteomic information about glutamate receptor tyrosine phosphorylation after brain ischemia.

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