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Neuropharmacology. 1998;37(2):139-47.

Structural determinants of the blocker binding site in glutamate and NMDA receptor channels.

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Department of Biology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0366, USA.


Glutamate receptor channels of the NMDA-type (N-methyl-D-aspartate) and non-NMDA-type (GluR) differ in their pore properties. The N-site in the M2 transmembrane segment of NMDA receptors (NMDAR), or the corresponding Q/R-site in GluRs, is a pivotal structural determinant of their permeation and blockade characteristics. Substitutions at a second site in M2, the L-site (L577) in GluR1, drastically alter the receptor selectivity to divalent cations. Here we report that M2 mutants carrying an asparagine or a threonine residue at the Q-site of GluR1, along with a tryptophan residue at the L-site, form homomeric GluR1 channels that are highly sensitive to structurally diverse, uncompetitive NMDA antagonists such as arylcyclohexylamines, dibenzocycloheptenimines, and to morphinian and adamantane derivatives. Analysis of the voltage dependence of channel blockade locates the blocker binding site approximately 0.65 partway into the transmembrane electric field in both GluR1 mutants and NMDAR channels. Our results suggest that the homomeric GluR1 double mutants, L577W/Q582N and L577W/Q582T, fairly approximate the pore properties of the heteromeric NMDA receptor and support the structural kinship of their permeation pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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