N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor channels are composed of an NR1 subunit and at least one of the NR2 subunits (NR2A-D). Activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor requires the co-agonists glycine and glutamate. It has been proposed that the NR1 subunit possesses a glycine-binding site. We have expressed a soluble form of the NR1 subunit, which was produced by connecting the N-terminal extracellular region with the extracellular loop between the third and fourth membrane segments, by a baculovirus system along with full-length and truncated membrane-bound forms. The soluble NR1 receptor was efficiently secreted into the culture medium and showed a high affinity for ligands. The Kd of a glycine-site antagonist, [3H]MDL 105,519 [(E)-3-(2-phenyl-2-carboxyethenyl)-4,6-dichloro-1H-indole-2-carboxylic acid], for the soluble receptor was 3.89±0.97 nM, which was comparable to the Kd of 4.47±1.39 nM for the membrane-bound full-length form. These values were close to the values reported previously with the use of rat brain membranes and Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing the full-length form of the NR1 subunit. The Ki values of other glycine-site antagonists, L-689,560 (trans-2-carboxy-5,7-dichloro - 4 - phenylaminocarbonylamino - 1,2,3,4 - tetrahydroquinoline), 5,7-dichlorokynurenate and 5,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione, for the soluble receptor were also similar to those for the full-length form of NR1. [3H]MDL 105,519 binding was also inhibited by the agonists glycine and D-serine. Thus the affinity and selectivity of ligand-binding characteristics of the NR1 subunit is conferred on the soluble form of the NR1 subunit. This soluble receptor provides a good experimental tool for initiating a biophysical analysis of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channel protein.
- glutamate receptor
- ligand binding
- ligand-gated ion channel
- MDL 105,519
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1999