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Structure and gating of tetrameric glutamate receptors

Published on 11.06.2013 in The Journal of Physiology


Alexander I. Sobolevsky


Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are ligand-gated ion channels that open their ion-conducting pores in response to the binding of agonist glutamate. In recent years, significant progress has been achieved in studies of iGluRs by determining numerous structures of isolated water-soluble ligand-binding and amino-terminal domains, as well as solving the first crystal structure of the full-length AMPA receptor in the closed, antagonist-bound state. These structural data combined with electrophysiological and fluorescence recordings, biochemical experiments, mutagenesis and molecular dynamics simulations have greatly improved our understanding of iGluR assembly, activation and desensitization processes. This article reviews the recent structural and functional advances in the iGluR field and summarizes them in a simplified model of full-length iGluR gating.