Human GRIN2B variants in neurodevelopmental disorders

J Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Oct;132(2):115-121. doi: 10.1016/j.jphs.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 19.


The development of whole exome/genome sequencing technologies has given rise to an unprecedented volume of data linking patient genomic variability to brain disorder phenotypes. A surprising number of variants have been found in the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) gene family, with the GRIN2B gene encoding the GluN2B subunit being implicated in many cases of neurodevelopmental disorders, which are psychiatric conditions originating in childhood and include language, motor, and learning disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental delay, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. The GRIN2B gene plays a crucial role in normal neuronal development and is important for learning and memory. Mutations in human GRIN2B were distributed throughout the entire gene in a number of patients with various neuropsychiatric and developmental disorders. Studies that provide functional analysis of variants are still lacking, however current analysis of de novo variants that segregate with disease cases such as intellectual disability, developmental delay, ASD or epileptic encephalopathies reveal altered NMDAR function. Here, we summarize the current reports of disease-associated variants in GRIN2B from patients with multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, and discuss implications, highlighting the importance of functional analysis and precision medicine therapies.

Keywords: Developmental delay; GluN2B/NR2B; Intellectual disability; NMDA receptor; Neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / genetics*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / chemistry
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics*


  • NR2B NMDA receptor
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate