Cloning and expression of the human N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit NR3A

Neurosci Lett. 2002 Mar 22;321(3):177-81. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(01)02524-1.


Native N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are heteromeric assemblies of four or five subunits. The NMDA receptor subunits, NR1, NR2A, NR2B, NR2C, and NR2D have been cloned in several species, including man. The NR3A subunit, which in rodents is predominantly expressed during early development, seems to function by reducing the NMDA receptor response. The human homologue to the rat NR3A, however, had not been cloned. In order to study the functions of the human NR3A (hNR3A), we have cloned and sequenced the hNR3A. It was found to share 88% of the DNA sequence with the rat gene, corresponding to a 93% homology at the amino acid level. Based on available data from human genome databases, we localized the gene to chromosome 9. The transcript could be detected by in situ hybridization in human fetal spinal cord and forebrain. Two splice variants of NR3A have been reported in rat brain, the longer of the two containing a 60 bp insert in the intracellular domain. We were unable to detect this 60 bp insert in fetal or adult human brain, suggesting that only the short variant is expressed in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / chemistry
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / isolation & purification*
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Glutamic Acid

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ416950