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Mol Pharmacol. 2013 Oct;84(4):541-50. doi: 10.1124/mol.113.087189. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Inhibition of GluN2A-containing N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors by 2-naphthoic acid.

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Neuroscience Program (H.Y., G.K.P.) and Department of Biochemistry (G.K.P.), School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.


N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors mediate excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system and play important roles in synaptic development and plasticity, but also mediate glutamate neurotoxicity. Recently, 2-naphthoic acid (NPA) and its derivatives have been identified as allosteric, noncompetitive NMDA receptor inhibitors. The selectivity of NPA derivatives among NMDA receptor subtypes was mapped structurally to the ligand-binding domain, and was proposed to be mediated by residues on the S1 segment. To delineate the kinetic mechanism by which NPA inhibits NMDA receptor activity, we examined its effects on the NMDA receptor gating reaction. Using whole-cell patch clamping on human embryonic kidney 293 cells expressing recombinant NMDA family of glutamate receptor subunits, GluN1/GluN2A, we found that NPA has a 50% inhibitory effect at 1.9 mM. Further, from one-channel current recordings, we found that 4 mM NPA caused a 62% decrease in open probability by decreasing mean open time 2.5-fold and by increasing mean closed time 2-fold. Kinetic modeling suggested that NPA binding stabilized NMDA receptor closed states and increased the energy barriers toward open states, causing NMDA receptors to dwell longer in pre-open states along the activation pathway. The reaction mechanisms we derived provide quantitative insight into the inhibitory mechanism of NPA and help anticipate its effects on GluN1/GluN2A receptors during both physiologic and pathologic activation modalities.

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