The synaptic localization of NR2B-containing NMDA receptors is controlled by interactions with PDZ proteins and AP-2

Neuron. 2005 Sep 15;47(6):845-57. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.08.016.


The NMDA receptor (NMDAR) is a component of excitatory synapses and a key participant in synaptic plasticity. We investigated the role of two domains in the C terminus of the NR2B subunit--the PDZ binding domain and the clathrin adaptor protein (AP-2) binding motif--in the synaptic localization of NMDA receptors. NR2B subunits lacking functional PDZ binding are excluded from the synapse. Mutations in the AP-2 binding motif, YEKL, significantly increase the number of synaptic receptors and allow the synaptic localization of NR2B subunits lacking PDZ binding. Peptides corresponding to YEKL increase the synaptic response within minutes. In contrast, the NR2A subunit localizes to the synapse in the absence of PDZ binding and is not altered by mutations in its motif corresponding to YEKL of NR2B. This study identifies a dynamic regulation of synaptic NR2B-containing NMDARs through PDZ protein-mediated stabilization and AP-2-mediated internalization that is modulated by phosphorylation by Fyn kinase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • DNA Probes / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods
  • Immunoprecipitation / methods
  • Models, Neurological
  • Mutagenesis / physiology
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • DNA Probes
  • NR2B NMDA receptor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Tyrosine