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Gene. 1995 Jul 4;159(2):219-23.

Cloning and structure of the gene encoding the human N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR1).

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Max-Planck-Institut für experimentelle Medizin, Abteilung Molekulare Neuroendokrinologie, Göttingen, Germany.


The complete gene encoding the human N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit NR1 (NMDAR1) has been isolated on a single cosmid clone. The gene is composed of 21 exons distributed over a total length of about 31 kb. More than 24 kb were sequenced. Exons 4, 20 and 21 are identical in their amino-acid sequence to those exons that are subject to alternative splicing in rat, indicating that all eight NMDAR1 isoforms found in rat will also be expressed in the human brain. Computer analysis of the pre-mRNA sequence revealed no secondary structures stable enough to explain alternative splicing. We suggest that cell-specific factors control expression of different isoforms. The promoter region contains two perfect copies of the recognition sequence for the Drosophila even-skipped protein, indicating that the developmentally regulated expression of NMDAR1 is controlled by a homeobox protein. The complete cosmid clone covering NMDAR1 was mapped to chromosome 9q34.3-qter by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The telomeric location is supported by an imperfect (CA)n repeat homologous to a subtelomeric repeat on chromosome 16p.

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