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Neuron. 1990 Jun;4(6):963-70.

Cloning and expression of the 58 kd beta subunit of the inhibitory glycine receptor.

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ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The inhibitory glycine receptor (GlyR) mediates post-synaptic inhibition in spinal cord and other regions of the CNS. Purified mammalian GlyR contains two membrane-spanning subunits 48 kd (alpha) and 58 kd (beta) plus a 93 kd receptor-associated cytoplasmic protein. Here, the primary structure of the beta subunit was deduced from cDNAs isolated from rat spinal cord and brain cDNA libraries. The predicted amino acid sequence exhibits 47% identity to the previously characterized rat alpha 1 polypeptide. Northern blot analysis revealed high levels of beta subunit transcripts in postnatal spinal cord, cerebellum, and cortex. Nuclear injection into Xenopus oocytes of a beta subunit cDNA engineered for efficient expression generated weak glycine-activated chloride currents that were insensitive to the classic GlyR antagonist, strychnine. Our data indicate a differential expression of GlyR alpha and beta subunits in the rat nervous system and support a structural role of the beta polypeptide in the native receptor complex.

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