Abstract

Aberrant NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activity contributes to several neurological disorders, but direct antagonism is poorly tolerated therapeutically. The GluN2B cytoplasmic C-terminal domain (CTD) represents an alternative therapeutic target since it potentiates excitotoxic signaling. The key GluN2B CTD-centred event in excitotoxicity is proposed to involve its phosphorylation at Ser-1303 by Dapk1, that is blocked by a neuroprotective cell-permeable peptide mimetic of the region. Contrary to this model, we find that excitotoxicity can proceed without increased Ser-1303 phosphorylation, and is unaffected by Dapk1 deficiency in vitro or following ischemia in vivo. Pharmacological analysis of the aforementioned neuroprotective peptide revealed that it acts in a sequence-independent manner as an open-channel NMDAR antagonist at or near the Mg2+ site, due to its high net positive charge. Thus, GluN2B-driven excitotoxic signaling can proceed independently of Dapk1 or altered Ser-1303 phosphorylation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17161
Number of pages13
JournaleLIFE
Volume2017
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2017

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