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J Neurochem. 1987 Oct;49(4):1301-7.

Excitatory amino acid receptor potency and subclass specificity of sulfur-containing amino acids.


The sulfur-containing amino acids, L- and D-cysteate, L-cysteine, L- and D-cysteine sulfinate, L- and D-cysteine-S-sulfate, L-cystine, L- and D-homocysteate, L- and D-homocysteine sulfinate, L-homocysteine, L-serine-O-sulfate, and taurine were tested in two excitatory amino acid receptor functional assays and in receptor binding assays designed to label specifically the AA1/N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), AA2/quisqualate, and AA3/kainate receptor recognition sites, as well as a CaCl2-dependent L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutanoate site, and a putative glutamate uptake site. Agonist efficacies were determined by chick retinal excitotoxicity and stimulated sodium efflux from rat brain slices. D-Homocysteine sulfinate, L-homocysteate, and L-serine-O-sulfate had affinities most selective for the NMDA binding site, whereas the binding affinities of D-cysteate, D-cysteine sulfinate, D-homocysteate, and L-homocysteine sulfinate were less selective. However, the correlation of agonist activity sensitive to blockade by D-2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoate or D-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoate in the functional assays with affinity in the NMDA binding assay (r = 0.87, p less than 0.005 and r = 0.98, p less than 0.005 for excitotoxicity and sodium efflux, respectively) allows characterization of these sulfur-containing amino acids as acting at NMDA subclass receptors. L-Homocysteate, which has been found in the brain, and L-serine-O-sulfate are selective agonists and could serve as endogenous neurotransmitters at the NMDA receptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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