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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 8;9(4):e94255. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094255. eCollection 2014.

Evolutionarily conserved pattern of AMPA receptor subunit glycosylation in Mammalian frontal cortex.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America.


Protein glycosylation may contribute to the evolution of mammalian brain complexity by adapting excitatory neurotransmission in response to environmental and social cues. Balanced excitatory synaptic transmission is primarily mediated by glutamatergic neurotransmission. Previous studies have found that subunits of the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptor are N-glycosylated, which may play a critical role in AMPA receptor trafficking and function at the cell membrane. Studies have predominantly used rodent models to address altered glycosylation in human pathological conditions. Given the rate of mammalian brain evolution and the predicted rate of change in the brain-specific glycoproteome, we asked if there are species-specific changes in glycoprotein expression, focusing on the AMPA receptor. N-glycosylation of AMPA receptor subunits was investigated in rat (Rattus norvegicus), tree shrew (Tupaia glis belangeri), macaque (Macaca nemestrina), and human frontal cortex tissue using a combination of enzymatic deglycosylation and Western blot analysis, as well as lectin binding assays. We found that two AMPA receptor subunits, GluA2 and GluA4, are sensitive to deglycosylation with Endo H and PNGase F. When we enriched for glycosylated proteins using lectin binding assays, we found that all four AMPA receptor subunits are glycosylated, and were predominantly recognized by lectins that bind to glucose or mannose, N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), or 1-6αfucose. We found differences in glycosylation between different subunits, as well as modest differences in glycosylation of homologous subunits between different species.

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