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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential expression of alternatively spliced isoforms of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) in knockout mice deficient in nNOS alpha (nNOS alpha(Delta/ Delta) mice).

Recent data suggest that the neuronal isoform of nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and glutamate receptors of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type are physically coupled and, hence, functionally interrelated. Several alternatively spliced isoforms of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 1 (NMDAR1) subunit and the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) are known, and recent studies have shown that a spliced C-terminal may be responsible for the coupling of NMDAR's to nNOS via its PDZ domain and the postsynaptic density protein PSD95. However, little is known about whether and to what extent changes in nNOS expression influence NMDA receptor density or function. We have therefore compared the localization of nNOS alpha, beta and gamma with that of two relevant NMDAR1 splice variants in wild-type mice versus knockout mice deficient in nNOS alpha, generated by homologous recombination with a targeted deletion of exon 2, containing one PDZ domain (nNOS alpha(Delta/ Delta) mice). Whereas nNOS alpha was completely absent in nNOS alpha(Delta/ Delta) mice, nNOS beta and gamma were expressed in both wild-type and knockout animals. nNOS gamma mRNA, though, was hardly detectable, if at all, mainly within the olfactory bulb, the cerebellum and mesencephalic nuclei of knockout animals. The expression of the NMDAR1-1 splice variant (without any short carboxy-terminal amino acid motif, recognized by PDZ domains) was remarkably decreased in striatal, cortical, hippocampal and cerebellar tissue in nNOS alpha(Delta/ Delta) animals, but no changes in NMDAR1-4 (with an alternatively spliced C-terminal and thus with a PDZ binding motif) mRNA and protein levels were observed. While NMDAR1-4 may be related to receptor targeting and clustering to PSD95 and to nNOS, our data suggest that differences in nNOS expression obviously do not directly influence gene expression of this particular NMDAR splice variant. Otherwise, the observed diminution of NMDAR1-1 splice variant mRNA and protein levels may, at least partially, explain the decreased vulnerability of nNOS alpha(Delta/ Delta) mice to glutamate-mediated neurotoxicity.[1]


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