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Biochemistry

Channel-opening kinetic mechanism for human wild-type GluK2 and the M867I mutant kainate receptor.


PMID 20863077

Abstract

GluK2 is a kainate receptor subunit that is alternatively spliced at the C-terminus. Previous studies implicated GluK2 in autism. In particular, the methionine-to-isoleucine replacement at amino acid residue 867 (M867I) that can only occur in the longest isoform of the human GluK2 (hGluK2), as the disease (autism) mutation, is thought to cause gain-of-function. However, the kinetic properties of the wild-type hGluK2 and the functional consequence of this gain-of-function mutation at the molecular level are not well understood. To investigate whether the M867I mutation affects the channel properties of the human GluK2 kainate receptor, we have systematically characterized the rate and the equilibrium constants pertinent to channel opening and channel desensitization for this mutant and the wild-type hGluK2 receptor, along with the wild-type rat GluK2 kainate receptor (rGluK2) as the control. Our results show that the M867I mutation does not affect either the rate or the equilibrium constants of the channel opening but does slow down the channel desensitization rate by ~1.6-fold at saturating glutamate concentrations. It is possible that a consequence of this mutation on the desensitization rate is linked to facilitating the receptor trafficking and membrane expression, given the close proximity of M867 to the forward trafficking motif in the C-terminal sequence. By comparing the kinetic data of the wild-type human and rat GluK2 receptors, we also find that the human GluK2 has a ~3-fold smaller channel-opening rate constant but an identical channel-closing rate constant and thus a channel-opening probability of 0.85 vs 0.96 for rGluK2. Furthermore, the intrinsic equilibrium dissociation constant K(1) for hGluK2, like the EC(50) value, is ~2-fold lower than rGluK2. Our results therefore suggest that the human GluK2 is relatively a slowly activating channel but more sensitive to glutamate, as compared to the rat ortholog, despite the fact that the human and rat forms share 99% sequence homology.