Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
EMBO J. 2011 Mar 2;30(5):972-82. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.17. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

Dynamics and allosteric potential of the AMPA receptor N-terminal domain.

Author information

  • 1Neurobiology Division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.


Glutamate-gated ion channels (ionotropic glutamate receptors, iGluRs) sense the extracellular milieu via an extensive extracellular portion, comprised of two clamshell-shaped segments. The distal, N-terminal domain (NTD) has allosteric potential in NMDA-type iGluRs, which has not been ascribed to the analogous domain in AMPA receptors (AMPARs). In this study, we present new structural data uncovering dynamic properties of the GluA2 and GluA3 AMPAR NTDs. GluA3 features a zipped-open dimer interface with unconstrained lower clamshell lobes, reminiscent of metabotropic GluRs (mGluRs). The resulting labile interface supports interprotomer rotations, which can be transmitted to downstream receptor segments. Normal mode analysis reveals two dominant mechanisms of AMPAR NTD motion: intraprotomer clamshell motions and interprotomer counter-rotations, as well as accessible interconversion between AMPAR and mGluR conformations. In addition, we detect electron density for a potential ligand in the GluA2 interlobe cleft, which may trigger lobe motions. Together, these data support a dynamic role for the AMPAR NTDs, which widens the allosteric landscape of the receptor and could provide a novel target for ligand development.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center