NR1/NR2D NMDA receptors display unusually slow deactivation kinetics which may be critical for their role as extrasynaptic receptors. A threonine to alanine point mutation has been inserted at amino acid position 692 of the NR2D subunit (T692A). Recombinant NR1a/NR2D(T692A) NMDA receptors have been expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and their pharmacological and single-channel properties examined using two-electrode voltage-clamp and patch-clamp recording techniques. Glutamate dose-response curves from NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptor channels produced an approximately 1600-fold reduction in glutamate potency compared to wild-type NR1a/NR2D receptors. There was no change in Hill slopes or gross reduction in mean maximal currents recorded in oocytes expressing either wild-type or mutant receptors. The mutation did not affect the potency of the co-agonist glycine. The shifts in potency produced by NR2D(T692A) containing receptors when activated by other glutamate-site agonists such as aspartate or NMDA were 30- to 60-fold compared to wild-type. Single-channel conductance levels of NR1a/NR2D(T692A) mutant receptors were indistinguishable from wild-type NR2D-containing channels. Additionally NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptors showed the transitional asymmetry that is characteristic of NR2D-containing NMDA receptors. Rapid applications of glutamate on outside-out patches containing NR1a/NR2D(T692A) receptors produced macroscopic current deactivations that were about 60-fold faster than wild-type NR1a/NR2D receptors. Our results suggest that this conserved threonine residue plays a crucial role in ligand binding to NMDA NR2 receptor subunits and supports the idea that the slow decay kinetics associated with NR1a/NR2D NMDA receptors can be explained by the slow dissociation of glutamate from this NMDA receptor subtype.