Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2001 Sep;4(9):894-901.

Allosteric interaction between the amino terminal domain and the ligand binding domain of NR2A.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1510 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Fast desensitization is an important regulatory mechanism of neuronal NMDA receptor function. Only recombinant NMDA receptors composed of NR1/NR2A exhibit a fast component of desensitization similar to neuronal NMDA receptors. Here we report that the fast desensitization of NR1/NR2A receptors is caused by ambient zinc, and that a positive allosteric interaction occurs between the extracellular zinc-binding site located in the amino terminal domain and the glutamate-binding domain of NR2A. The relaxation of macroscopic currents reflects a shift to a new equilibrium due to increased zinc affinity after binding of glutamate. We also show a similar interaction between the ifenprodil binding site and the glutamate binding site of NR1/NR2B receptors. These data raise the possibility that there is an allosteric interaction between the amino terminal domain and the ligand-binding domain of other glutamate receptors. Our findings may provide insight into how zinc and other extracellular modulators regulate NMDA receptor function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center