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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jan;3(1):15-21.

Molecular basis of NMDA receptor-coupled ion channel modulation by S-nitrosylation.

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Cerebrovascular and Neuroscience Research Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Several ion channels are thought to be directly modulated by nitric oxide (NO), but the molecular basis of this regulation is unclear. Here we show that the NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-associated ion channel was modulated not only by exogenous NO but also by endogenous NO. Site-directed mutagenesis identified a critical cysteine residue (Cys 399) on the NR2A subunit whose S-nitrosylation (NO+ transfer) under physiological conditions underlies this modulation. In cell systems expressing NMDARs with mutant NR2A subunits in which this single cysteine was replaced by an alanine, the effect of endogenous NO was lost. Thus endogenous S-nitrosylation can regulate ion channel activity.

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