Immuno-Pharmacological Characterization of Presynaptic GluN3A-Containing NMDA Autoreceptors: Relevance to Anti-NMDA Receptor Autoimmune Diseases

Guendalina Olivero, Matteo Vergassola, Francesca Cisani, Cesare Usai, Anna Pittaluga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mouse hippocampal glutamatergic nerve endings express presynaptic release-regulating NMDA autoreceptors (NMDARs). The presence of GluN1, GluN2A, GluN2B, and GluN3A subunits in hippocampal vesicular glutamate transporter type 1-positive synaptosomes was confirmed with confocal microscopy. GluN2C, GluN2D, and GluN3B immunopositivity was scarcely present. Incubation of synaptosomes with the anti-GluN1, the anti-GluN2A, the anti-GluN2B, or the anti-GluN3A antibody prevented the 30 μM NMDA/1 μM glycine-evoked [ 3 H]d-aspartate ([ 3 H]d-ASP) release. The NMDA/glycine-evoked [ 3 H]d-ASP release was reduced by increasing the external protons, consistent with the participation of GluN1 subunits lacking the N1 cassette to the receptor assembly. The result also excludes the involvement of GluN1/GluN3A dimers into the NMDA-evoked overflow. Complement (1:300) released [ 3 H]d-ASP in a dizocilpine-sensitive manner, suggesting the participation of a NMDAR-mediated component in the releasing activity. Accordingly, the complement-evoked glutamate overflow was reduced in anti-GluN-treated synaptosomes when compared to the control. We speculated that incubation with antibodies had favored the internalization of NMDA receptors. Indeed, a significant reduction of the GluN1 and GluN2B proteins in the plasma membranes of anti-GluN1 or anti-GluN2B antibody-treated synaptosomes emerged in biotinylation studies. Altogether, our findings confirm the existence of presynaptic GluN3A-containing release-regulating NMDARs in mouse hippocampal glutamatergic nerve endings. Furthermore, they unveil presynaptic alteration of the GluN subunit insertion in synaptosomal plasma membranes elicited by anti-GluN antibodies that might be relevant to the central alterations occurring in patients suffering from autoimmune anti-NMDA diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6142-6155
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Anti-GluN antibody
  • Complement
  • GluN3
  • NMDA internalization
  • Presynaptic NMDA autoreceptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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