Molecular diversity of the NMDA receptor channel

Nature. 1992 Jul 2;358(6381):36-41. doi: 10.1038/358036a0.


Two novel subunits of the mouse NMDA receptor channel, the epsilon 2 and epsilon 3 subunits, have been identified by cloning and expression of complementary DNAs. The heteromeric epsilon 1/zeta 1, epsilon 2/zeta 1 and epsilon 3/zeta 1 NMDA receptor channels exhibit distinct functional properties in affinities for agonists and sensitivities to competitive antagonists and Mg2+ block. In contrast to the wide distribution of the epsilon 1 and zeta 1 subunit messenger RNAs in the brain, the epsilon 2 subunit mRNA is expressed only in the forebrain and the epsilon 3 subunit mRNA is found predominantly in the cerebellum. The epsilon 1/zeta 1 and epsilon 2/zeta 1 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes, but not the epsilon 3/zeta 1 channel, are activated by treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate. These findings suggest that the molecular diversity of the epsilon subunit family underlies the functional heterogeneity of the NMDA receptor channel.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / chemistry*
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / chemistry*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology


  • Ion Channels
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • DNA
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate

Associated data

  • GENBANK/D10651
  • GENBANK/D10694