Protein kinase C activation induces tyrosine phosphorylation of the NR2A and NR2B subunits of the NMDA receptor.
Grosshans DR., Browning MD.
The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is an ionotropic glutamate receptor, which plays crucial roles in synaptic plasticity and development. We have recently shown that potentiation of NMDA receptor function by protein kinase C (PKC) appears to be mediated via activation of non-receptor tyrosine kinases. The aim of this study was to test whether this effect could be mediated by direct tyrosine phosphorylation of the NR2A or NR2B subunits of the receptor. Following treatment of rat hippocampal CA1 mini-slices with 500 nM phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) for 15 min, samples were homogenized, immunoprecipitated with anti-NR2A or NR2B antibodies and the resulting pellets subjected to Western blotting with antiphosphotyrosine antibody. An increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of both NR2A (76 +/- 11% above control) and NR2B (41 +/- 11%) was observed. This increase was blocked by pretreatment with the selective PKC inhibitor chelerythrine, with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Lavendustin A or with the Src family tyrosine kinase inhibitor PP2. PMA treatment also produced an increase in the phosphorylation of serine 890 on the NR1 subunit, a known PKC site, at 5 min with phosphorylation returning to near basal levels by 10 min while tyrosine phosphorylation of NR2A and NR2B was sustained for up to 15 min. These results suggest that the modulation of NMDA receptor function seen with PKC activation may be the result of tyrosine phosphorylation of NR2A and/or NR2B.