Differential assembly of coexpressed glutamate receptor subunits in neurons of rat cerebral cortex

Nils Brose*, George W. Huntley, Yael Stern-Bach, Geeta Sharma, John H. Morrison, Stephen F. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


In the rat, subunits of the glutamate receptor family fall into three pharmacologically distinct groups: α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid preferring receptors (Glu R1-4), kainate preferring receptors (Glu R5-7, KA 1, KA 2), and N-methyl-D-aspartate preferring receptors (NMDA R1, NMDA R2A-2D). In the present study, we demonstrate immunocytochemically that the majority of neurons in rat cerebral cortex coexpress members of all three groups of glutamate receptor subunits, Glu R2/3, Glu R5/6/7, and NMDA R1. Using immunoaffinity purified or immunoprecipitated α-amino-3-hydroxy- 5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid, kainate and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, we show that α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors containing Glu R1-4, kainate receptors containing Glu R6, Glu R7, and KA 2 and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors containing NMDA R1 each form distinct protein complexes that do not share subunits. Our data indicate that a mechanism exists which allows for the specific assembly of selected glutamate receptor subunits into functionally and structurally distinct heteromeric receptors.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)16780-16784
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 17 Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


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