Modulation of NMDA receptor properties and synaptic transmission by the NR3A subunit in mouse hippocampal and cerebrocortical neurons.
Expression of the NR3A subunit with NR1/NR2 in Xenopus oocytes or mammalian cell lines leads to a reduction in N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced currents and decreased Mg(2+) sensitivity and Ca(2+) permeability compared with NR1/NR2 receptors. Consistent with these findings, neurons from NR3A knockout (KO) mice exhibit enhanced NMDA-induced currents. Recombinant NR3A can also form excitatory glycine receptors with NR1 in the absence of NR2. However, the effects of NR3A on channel properties in neurons and synaptic transmission have not been fully elucidated. To study physiological roles of NR3A subunits, we generated NR3A transgenic (Tg) mice. Cultured NR3A Tg neurons exhibited two populations of NMDA receptor (NMDAR) channels, reduced Mg(2+) sensitivity, and decreased Ca(2+) permeability in response to NMDA/glycine, but glycine alone did not elicit excitatory currents. In addition, NMDAR-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in NR3A Tg hippocampal slices showed reduced Mg(2+) sensitivity, consistent with the notion that NR3A subunits incorporated into synaptic NMDARs. To study the function of endogenous NR3A subunits, we compared NMDAR-mediated EPSCs in NR3A KO and WT control mice. In NR3A KO mice, the ratio of the amplitudes of the NMDAR-mediated component to alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor-mediated component of the EPSC was significantly larger than that seen in WT littermates. This result suggests that NR3A subunits contributed to the NMDAR-mediated component of the EPSC in WT mice. Taken together, these results show that NR3A subunits contribute to NMDAR responses from both synaptic and extrasynaptic receptors, likely composed of NR1, NR2, and NR3 subunits.
PubMed ID: 18003876
Article link: J Neurophysiol.
Grant support: K12 AG-00975 NIA NIH HHS , P01 HD-29587 NICHD NIH HHS , R01 EY-05477 NEI NIH HHS , R01 MH-53535 NIMH NIH HHS
Genes referenced: grin1 grin3a nodal1 nodal2 nodal3.1