Molecular diversity of glutamate receptors and their physiological functions Review Article

Author(s): Nakanishi, Shigetada; Masu, Masayuki; Bessho, Yasumasa; Nakajima, Yoshiaki; Hayashi, Yasunori; Shigemoto, Ryuichi
Title: Molecular diversity of glutamate receptors and their physiological functions
Abstract: Glutamate receptors play an important role in many integrative brain functions and in neuronal development. We report the molecular diversity of NMDA receptors and metabotropic glutamate receptors on the basis of our studies of molecular cloning and characterization of the diverse members of these receptors. The NMDA receptors consist of two distinct types of subunits. NMDAR1 possesses all properties characteristic of the NMDA receptor-channel complex, whereas the four NMDAR2 subunits, termed NMDAR2A-2D, show no channel activity but potentiate the NMDAR1 activity and confer functional variability by different heteromeric formations. The NMDA receptor subunits are considerably divergent from the other ligand-gated ion channels, and the structural architecture of these subunits remains elusive. The mGluRs form a family of at least seven different subtypes termed mGluR1-mGluR7. These receptor subtypes have, seven transmembrane segments and possess a large extracellular domain at their N-terminal regions. The seven mGluR subtypes are classified into three subgroups according to their sequence similarities, signal transduction mechanisms and agonist selectivities: mGluR1/mGluR5, mGluR2/mGluR3 and mGluR4/mGluR6/mGluR7. On the basis of our knowledge of the molecular diversity of the NMDA receptors and mGluRs, we have studied the physiological roles of individual receptor subunits or subtypes. We have shown that K(+)-induced depolarization or NMDA treatment in primary cultures of neonatal cerebellar granule cells induces the functional NMDA receptor and specifically up-regulates NMDAR2A mRNA among the multiple NMDA receptor subunits through the increase in resting intracellular Ca2+ concentrations. Our study demonstrates that the regulation of the specific NMDA receptor subunit mRNA governs the NMDA receptor induction that is thought to play an important role in granule cell survival and death. Analysis of an agonist selectivity and an expression pattern of mGluR6 has indicated that mGluR6 is responsible for synaptic neurotransmission from photoreceptor cells to ON-bipolar cells in the visual system. We have also investigated the function of mGluR2 in granule cells of the accessory olfactory bulb by combining immunoelectron-microscopic analysis with slice-patch recordings on the basis of the identification of a new agonist selective for this receptor subtype. Our results demonstrate that mGluR2 is present at the presynaptic site of granule cells and modulates inhibitory GABA transmission from granule cells to mitral cells. This finding indicates that the mGluR2 activation relieves excited mitral cells from GABA inhibition but maintains the lateral inhibition of unexcited mitral cells, thus resulting in enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio between the excited mitral cells and their neighboring unexcited mitral cells.
Keywords: Glutamate receptor; n methyl dextro aspartic acid receptor; messenger rna; Receptors, N Methyl D Aspartate
Publication Title: Experientia Supplementum
Volume: 71
ISBN: 1023-294X
Publisher: Birkhäuser  
Date Published: 1994-01-01
Start Page: 71
End Page: 80
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-0348-7330-7_8
Open access: no