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Brain Res. 1986 Oct 22;385(2):205-11.

The action of natural and synthetic isomers of quisqualic acid at a well-defined glutamatergic synapse.


L-, D- and DL-quisqualic acid have been synthesized and their activities at the glutamatergic locust nerve-muscle junction have been compared with those of natural quisqualic acid and with glutamic acid. Two well-characterised locust nerve-muscle preparations were used in these studies, the retractor unguis nerve-muscle system and the extensor tibiae nerve-muscle system. The amino acids were tested on the whole nerve-muscle system in the former, when reduction in neurally evoked twitch contraction amplitude was the measured parameter, and by ionophoretic application to single excitatory junctional sites in the latter, when amplitude of junctional depolarization was the measured parameter. Synthetic L-quisqualic acid exhibited identical potency to its natural counterpart. However, D-quisqualic acid and DL-quisqualic acid were more active than expected from the known stereospecificity of this glutamatergic system towards D- and L-glutamic acid. The hydantoin analogue of quisqualic acid was inactive. X-ray crystallographic analysis of L-quisqualic acid and the hydantoin analogue showed that the ring junction in the former is pyramidal whereas in the latter it is planar. This may account for the high potency of L-quisqualic acid on a receptor system which identifies a partially folded conformation of L-glutamic acid. A pyramidal configuration of D-quisqualic acid would allow either rapid interconversion between active and inactive configurations at its ring junction or adoption of a trigonal configuration in solution. Either interpretation could explain the unexpected potency of D-quisqualic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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