Regulation of NMDA receptors by the tyrosine kinase Fyn

FEBS J. 2012 Jan;279(1):12-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2011.08391.x. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


The phosphorylation and trafficking of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are tightly regulated by the Src family tyrosine kinase Fyn, through dynamic interactions with various scaffolding proteins in the NMDA receptor complex. Fyn acts as a point of convergence for many signaling pathways that upregulate GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors. In the following review, we focus on Fyn signaling downstream of different G-protein-coupled receptors: the dopamine D1 receptor, and receptors cognate to the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide. The net result of activation of each of these signaling pathways is upregulation of GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors. The NMDA receptor is a major target of ethanol in the brain, and accumulating evidence suggests that Fyn mediates the effects of ethanol by regulating the phosphorylation of GluN2B NMDA receptor subunits. Furthermore, Fyn has been shown to regulate alcohol withdrawal and acute tolerance to ethanol through a GluN2B-dependent mechanism. In addition to its effects on NMDA receptor function, Fyn also modifies the threshold for synaptic plasticity at CA1 synapses, an effect that probably contributes to the effects of Fyn on spatial and contextual fear learning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn