Additional tools for neuroscience researchers
Robert Buchner Peter L. Pingerelli Michael D. Browning
Mary Ellen Simcox
Stratagene Cloning Systems, Inc.
Stratagene is now offering gene-specific primer sets for the rat and human NMDA receptor. In this article, we describe using these primers in reverse transcriptase-mediated polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays to show expression of NMDA subunits with Stratagenes rat cDNA, human cDNA and hNT neuron cDNA libraries as templates. By using these primers, researchers will be able to study rat and human NMDAR subunit-specific expression in a variety of different cell types and regions of the brain.
The ion channels activated by glutamate are typically divided into two classes. The ion channels that are sensitive to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) are designated NMDA receptors (NMDAR), while those activated by kainate and a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxalone propionic acid (AMPA) are known as kainate/AMPA receptors (K/AMPAR). The NMDAR assumes a critical role in long-term potentiation (LTP), a putative cellular substrate of memory.1 This receptor has also been linked to neuronal development and has been implicated in several disorders of the central nervous system, including epilepsy and ischemic neuronal cell death.
The rat NMDAR1 (NR1) was the first subunit of the NMDAR to be cloned.2
The NR1 protein can form NMDA-activated ion channels when expressed in Xenopus
oocytes, but the currents in such channels are much weaker than those seen in
situ. Channels with more relevant physiological characteristics are produced
when the NR1 subunit is combined with one or more of the NMDAR2 (NR2A-D)
subunits.3 In addition, there are a number of different splice
variants of the NR1.4 Significant functional diversity has be