Stoichiometry of the human glycine receptor revealed by direct subunit counting

J Neurosci. 2012 Sep 12;32(37):12915-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2050-12.2012.


The subunit stoichiometry of heteromeric glycine-gated channels determines fundamental properties of these key inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors; however, the ratio of α1- to β-subunits per receptor remains controversial. We used single-molecule imaging and stepwise photobleaching in Xenopus oocytes to directly determine the subunit stoichiometry of a glycine receptor to be 3α1:2β. This approach allowed us to determine the receptor stoichiometry in mixed populations consisting of both heteromeric and homomeric channels, additionally revealing the quantitative proportions for the two populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oocytes / chemistry*
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Protein Subunits / analysis*
  • Receptors, Glycine / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Glycine / classification
  • Receptors, Glycine / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Glycine