The molecular events controlling glutamate receptor ion channel gating are complex. The movement of transmembrane domain M3 within N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunits has been suggested to be one structural determinant linking agonist binding to channel gating. Here we report that covalent modification of NR1-A652C or the analogous mutation in NR2A, -2B, -2C, or -2D by methanethiosulfonate ethylammonium (MTSEA) occurs only in the presence of glutamate and glycine, and that modification potentiates recombinant NMDA receptor currents. The modified channels remain open even after removing glutamate and glycine from the external solution. The degree of potentiation depends on the identity of the NR2 subunit (NR2A <NR2B <NR2C,D) inversely correlating with previous measurements of channel open probability. MTSEA-induced modification of channels is associated with increased glutamate potency, increased mean single-channel open time, and slightly decreased channel conductance. Modified channels are insensitive to the competitive antagonists D-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) and 7-Cl-kynurenic acid, as well as allosteric modulators of gating (extracellular protons and Zn2+). However, channels remain fully sensitive to Mg2+ blockade and partially sensitive to pore block by (+)MK-801, (-)MK-801, ketamine, memantine, amantadine, and dextrorphan. The partial sensitivity to (+)MK-801 may reflect its ability to stimulate agonist unbinding from MTSEA-modified receptors. In summary, these data suggest that the SYTANLAAF motif within M3 is a conserved and critical determinant of channel gating in all NMDA receptors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology