Influence of a threonine residue in the S2 ligand binding domain in determining agonist potency and deactivation rate of recombinant NR1a/NR2D NMDA receptors

P. E. Chen, A. R. Johnston, M. H. Mok, R. Schoepfer, D. J. Wyllie

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NR1/NR2D NMDA receptors display unusually slow deactivation kinetics which may be critical for their role as extrasynaptic receptors. A threonine to alanine point mutation has been inserted at amino acid position 692 of the NR2D subunit (T692A). Recombinant NR1a/NR2D(T692A) NMDA receptors have been expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and their pharmacological and single-channel properties examined using two-electrode voltage-clamp and patch-clamp recording techniques. Glutamate dose-response curves from NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptor channels produced an approximately 1600-fold reduction in glutamate potency compared to wild-type NR1a/NR2D receptors. There was no change in Hill slopes or gross reduction in mean maximal currents recorded in oocytes expressing either wild-type or mutant receptors. The mutation did not affect the potency of the co-agonist glycine. The shifts in potency produced by NR2D(T692A) containing receptors when activated by other glutamate-site agonists such as aspartate or NMDA were 30- to 60-fold compared to wild-type. Single-channel conductance levels of NR1a/NR2D(T692A) mutant receptors were indistinguishable from wild-type NR2D-containing channels. Additionally NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptors showed the transitional asymmetry that is characteristic of NR2D-containing NMDA receptors. Rapid applications of glutamate on outside-out patches containing NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptors produced macroscopic current deactivations that were about 60-fold faster than wild-type NR1a/NR2D receptors. Our results suggest that this conserved threonine residue plays a crucial role in ligand binding to NMDA NR2 receptor subunits and supports the idea that the slow decay kinetics associated with NR1a/NR2D NMDA receptors can be explained by the slow dissociation of glutamate from this NMDA receptor subtype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue numberPt 1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Animals Binding Sites/physiology Glutamic Acid/pharmacology Ion Channel Gating/drug effects/physiology Ligands Mutagenesis, Site-Directed Oocytes/physiology Patch-Clamp Techniques Protein Structure, Tertiary Rats Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate/agonists/*genetics/*metabolism Threonine/genetics Xenopus laevis

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