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Neuron. 1993 Dec;11(6):1049-56.

Assembly of the inhibitory glycine receptor: identification of amino acid sequence motifs governing subunit stoichiometry.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany.


The inhibitory glycine receptor (GlyR) is a pentameric protein composed of two types (alpha and beta) of membrane-spanning subunits. Coexpression in Xenopus oocytes of a low affinity mutant of the alpha 2 subunit with the alpha 1 and beta subunits indicated that GlyRs assembled from alpha 1 and alpha 2 polypeptides contain variable subunit ratios, whereas alpha/beta hetero-oligomers have an invariant (3:2) stoichiometry. Analysis of different alpha/beta chimeric constructs revealed that this difference in assembly behavior is mediated by the N-terminal extracellular regions of the receptor subunits. Substitution of residues diverging between the alpha and beta subunits identified combinations of sequence motifs determining subunit stoichiometry.

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