Send to

Choose Destination
Neuron. 1993 May;10(5):943-54.

Zinc potentiates agonist-induced currents at certain splice variants of the NMDA receptor.

Author information

Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute, La Jolla, California 92037.


We have determined the gene structure for the NMDA receptor subunit gene NMDAR1. We found eight splice variants that arise from different combinations of a single 5' terminal exon insertion and three different 3' terminal exon deletions, relative to NMDAR1. We analyzed the modulation by Zn2+ of currents through homomeric receptors assembled from these splice variants and found that, in addition to its well-known inhibitory effect at high concentrations, Zn2+ potentiates agonist-induced currents at submicromolar concentrations (EC50 = 0.50 microM). This potentiation is observed only with a subset of NMDAR1 splice variants that show additional differences in pharmacological properties. Zn2+ potentiation is rapidly reversible, noncompetitive with either glutamate or glycine, and voltage independent. Zn2+ potentiation is mimicked by Cd2+, Cu2+, and Ni2+, but not by Mn2+, Co2+, Fe3+, Sn2+, or Hg2+. Our results suggest a possible role for Zn2+ as a positive modulator of NMDA receptors in certain regions of the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center