Complexity of NMDA Receptor Drug Discovery Target Revealed

NMDA receptors, critical for learning and memory, are sensors in the brain. Studying them in molecular detail is challenging, because they usually come in four parts, and the parts aren't all the same.

Researchers at Emory have been probing one variety of NMDA receptor assembly found in the cerebellum, and also in the thalamus, a central gateway for sensory inputs, important for cognition, movement and sleep. This variety includes a subunit called GluN2C - together with two partners, GluN1 and GluN2A.

The results are scheduled for publication in Neuron.

Outside of a living brain, NMDA receptor assemblies are typically studied with either two copies of GluN2C or two of GluN2A, but not with one of each, says senior author Stephen Traynelis, PhD, professor of pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Traynelis is also a faculty member in the MSP and NS programs.

Click here to view the full story in Drug Discovery and Development. The story was also features in Lab Land - The Emory Health Sciences Research Blog.