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

Retention of NMDA receptor NR2 subunits in the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum in targeted NR1 knockout mice.

Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate-selective glutamate receptor (NR) consisting of the NR1 subunit and an NR2 or NR3 subunit plays crucial roles in synaptic transmission, plasticity, and learning and memory. By using a knockout mouse strain, in which the NR1 gene deletion is primarily targeted to the CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampus, we investigated the in vivo effect of the loss of the NR1 subunit on the cellular expression and intracellular distribution of the NR2 subunits. The NR1 gene deletion had no apparent effect on the levels of NR2A or NR2B mRNA but led to severe reductions of NR2A and NR2B protein in dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells. This reduced dendritic distribution of the NR2 subunits accompanied their robust accumulation in perikarya, where they were condensed in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum as electron-dense granules. These granules were also observed in CA1 pyramidal cells of the control mice but they were much fewer and contained no detectable levels of the NR2 subunit. The effect of the NR1 knockout on intracellular localization of the NR2 subunits was specific in that no such effect was observed for the GluR1 and PSD-95, two other major postsynaptic proteins. These results suggest that the NR1 subunit plays a crucial role in the release of the NR2 subunit from the endoplasmic reticulum in hippocampal pyramidal cells in vivo, and when the NR1 subunit is unavailable, the NR2 subunits are retained and aggregate into intracisternal granules.[1]


  1. Retention of NMDA receptor NR2 subunits in the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum in targeted NR1 knockout mice. Fukaya, M., Kato, A., Lovett, C., Tonegawa, S., Watanabe, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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