Structure, function, and allosteric modulation of NMDA receptors

Kasper B. Hansen, Feng Yi, Riley E. Perszyk, Hiro Furukawa, Lonnie P. Wollmuth, Alasdair J. Gibb, Stephen F. Traynelis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


NMDA-type glutamate receptors are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate a Ca2+-permeable component of excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS). They are expressed throughout the CNS and play key physiological roles in synaptic function, such as synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory. NMDA receptors are also implicated in the pathophysiology of several CNS disorders and more recently have been identified as a locus for disease-associated genomic variation. NMDA receptors exist as a diverse array of subtypes formed by variation in assembly of seven subunits (GluN1, GluN2A-D, and GluN3A-B) into tetrameric receptor complexes. These NMDA receptor subtypes show unique structural features that account for their distinct functional and pharmacological properties allowing precise tuning of their physiological roles. Here, we review the relationship between NMDA receptor structure and function with an emphasis on emerging atomic resolution structures, which begin to explain unique features of this receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1105
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


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