Conformational analysis of NMDA receptor GluN1, GluN2, and GluN3 ligand-binding domains reveals subtype-specific characteristics

Yongneng Yao, John Belcher, Anthony J. Berger, Mark L. Mayer, Albert Y. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The NMDA receptor family of glutamate receptor ion channels is formed by obligate heteromeric assemblies of GluN1, GluN2, and GluN3 subunits. GluN1 and GluN3 bind glycine, whereas GluN2 binds glutamate. Crystal structures of the GluN1 and GluN3A ligand-binding domains (LBDs) in their apo states unexpectedly reveal open- and closed-cleft conformations, respectively, with water molecules filling the binding pockets. Computed conformational free energy landscapes for GluN1, GluN2A, and GluN3A LBDs reveal that the apo-state LBDs sample closed-cleft conformations, suggesting that their agonists bind via a conformational selection mechanism. By contrast, free energy landscapes for the AMPA receptor GluA2 LBD suggest binding of glutamate via an induced-fit mechanism. Principal component analysis reveals a rich spectrum of hinge bending, rocking, twisting, and sweeping motions that are different for the GluN1, GluN2A, GluN3A, and GluA2 LBDs. This variation highlights the structural complexity of signaling by glutamate receptor ion channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1788-1799
Number of pages12
JournalStructure
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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