alexa Molecular biology of mammalian amino acid receptors.
Diabetes & Endocrinology

Diabetes & Endocrinology

Endocrinology & Metabolic Syndrome

Author(s): Dingledine R, Myers SJ, Nicholas RA

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Abstract The amino acid receptor proteins are ubiquitous transducers of most excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in the brain. In July 1987 two reports appeared describing the molecular cloning of a pair of subunits of the GABAA receptor (7) and one subunit of the glycine receptor (13). These papers sparked wide interest and led quickly to the concept of a ligand-gated receptor-ion channel superfamily that includes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as well as certain amino acid receptors. The identification of additional subunits of each receptor followed; with the recent cloning of a kainate receptor subunit (14), only the NMDA receptor remains elusive. Several disciplines have been brought to bear on these receptor clones, including in situ hybridization and functional expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes and mammalian cell lines. In this review we compare cloning strategies that have been used for amino acid receptors and discuss structural similarities among the receptor subunits. Two findings that have arisen from molecular cloning and expression of these receptors receive special attention. First, the molecular heterogeneity of GABAA receptors is larger than expected from pharmacological studies of native receptors. Second, although the native receptors are thought to be heterooligomers, much like the model proposed for the nicotinic receptors, some individual amino acid receptor subunits can form functional receptor channels, presumably in a homomeric configuration. This review focuses, therefore, on what we have learned from cloning efforts about amino acid receptors and what might lie ahead in this field.
This article was published in FASEB J and referenced in Endocrinology & Metabolic Syndrome

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