The Subtype of GluN2 C-terminal Domain Determines the Response to Excitotoxic Insults

Marc-André Martel, Tomás J Ryan, Karen F S Bell, Jill H Fowler, Aoife McMahon, Bashayer Al-Mubarak, Noboru Komiyama, Karen Horsburgh, Peter C Kind, Seth G N Grant, David J A Wyllie, Giles E Hardingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

It is currently unclear whether the GluN2 subtype influences NMDA receptor (NMDAR) excitotoxicity. We report that the toxicity of NMDAR-mediated Ca2+ influx is differentially controlled by the cytoplasmic C-terminal domains of GluN2B (CTD2B) and GluN2A (CTD2A). Studying the effects of acute expression of GluN2A/2B-based chimeric subunits with reciprocal exchanges of their CTDs revealed that CTD2B enhances NMDAR toxicity, compared to CTD2A. Furthermore, the vulnerability of forebrain neurons invitro and invivo to NMDAR-dependent Ca2+ influx is lowered by replacing the CTD of GluN2B with that of GluN2A by targeted exon exchange in a mouse knockin model. Mechanistically, CTD2B exhibits stronger physical/functional coupling to the PSD-95-nNOS pathway, which suppresses protective CREB activation. Dependence of NMDAR excitotoxicity on the GluN2 CTD subtype can be overcome by inducing high levels of NMDAR activity. Thus, the identity (2A versus 2B) of the GluN2 CTD controls the toxicity dose-response to episodes of NMDAR activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-556
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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