Distribution of the NMDA receptor NR3A subunit in the adult pig-tail macaque brain

Academic Article


  • The NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors are heteromeric complexes comprised of multiple subunits encoded by at least seven different genes (NR1, NR2A-2D and NR3A-3B), and differential expression of these subunits alters the pharmacological and electrophysiological properties of NMDA receptors. NR3A is a recently identified unique modulatory subunit that decreases NMDA receptor current and calcium influx. In rodents, NR3A is developmentally expressed, displaying robust expression early in development that declines with age, reaching low levels in the adult brain. A distinct and highly selective pattern of expression is observed in the developing and mature rodent brain, suggesting that NR3A may play a very specific role in NMDA receptor-mediated processes. NR3A expression in other species, however, is unknown. Therefore, we examined the expression of NR3A mRNA and protein in the adult macaque brain. Our results indicate that NR3A mRNA is expressed throughout much of the adult primate brain, and at high levels in specific brain regions including the neocortex, substantia nigra par compacta and cerebellum, as well as select areas of the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and hypothamalamus. Western blot analysis reflects that this protein is translated and expressed in multiple brain regions. In contrast to the rat mRNA, our results suggest that NR3A transcript is widely expressed in the adult primate brain. Particular enrichment in some brain areas may reflect brain-region or circuit-specific functions for this NMDA receptor subunit. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mueller HT; Meador-Woodruff JH
  • Start Page

  • 157
  • End Page

  • 172
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 3