Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors: General Characteristics


in Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission in Health and Disease

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150025
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865079 | DOI:
Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors: General Characteristics

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Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are the principal mediators of fast excitatory transmission in the central nervous system. These receptors were originally distinguished by their specific binding of and responses to agonists such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), quisqualate/α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA), and kainate, thus defining three subfamilies. More recent molecular biological studies have basically confirmed that the principal receptor types fall into these three main classes on the basis of similarities in amino acid sequence, but they also have indicated that each subfamily comprises more than one gene and, as a result of posttranscriptional modifications, many more receptor protein subunits. In addition, researchers have identified a further subgroup in vertebrates (the orphan δ receptors, δ1 and δ2) and another subfamily, the kainate binding proteins, in non-mammalian vertebrates. This chapter discusses the general characteristics of ionotropic glutamate receptors, posttranscriptional modifications, alternative splicing, RNA editing, ligand-binding site of iGluRs, mechanism of channel gating of iGluRs, and the ion channel and carboxyl-terminal domain of glutamate receptors.

Keywords: ionotropic glutamate receptors; posttranscriptional modifications; excitatory transmission; N-methyl-D-aspartate; kainate; alternative splicing; RNA editing; ion channels; channel gating; ligand binding

Chapter.  7641 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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