NMDA receptor expression and C terminus structure in the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis and long-term potentiation across the Metazoa
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The C termini of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor NR2 subunits are thought to play a major role in the molecular establishment of memory across the Bilateria, via the phenomenon known as long-term potentiation (LTP). Despite their long history of use as models in the study of memory, the expression and structure of the NR2 subunit in the Lophotrochozoa has remained uncategorized. Here, we report the phylogenic relationships of NR subunits across the Bilateria, and the cloning and in situ analysis of expression of NMDA NR1 and NR2 subunits in the monogont rotifer Brachionus plicatilis. RNA in situ hybridization suggests expression of NMDA receptor subunits in B. plicatilis is neural, consistent with expression observed in other species, and ours is the first report confirming NR2 expression in the lophotrochozoan clade. However, the single NR2 subunit identified in B. plicatilis was found to lack the long C terminal domain found in vertebrates, which is believed to modulate LTP. Further investigation revealed that mollusc and annelid NR2 subunits possess long intracellular C terminal domains. As data from molluscs (and particularly Aplysia californica) are the basis for much of our understanding of LTP, understanding how these diverse lophotrochozoan C termini function in vivo will have many implications for how we consider the evolution of the molecular control of learning and memory across the Metazoa as a whole and interpret the results of experiments into this vital component of cognition.
KeywordsRotifer NMDA receptors Learning Long-term potentiation Lophotrochozoa
We would like to thank the many members of our laboratories for all their help, support and encouragement in the completion of this manuscript, and in particular we thank Dr. James Smith, for all his work in setting up rotifer as a model in our laboratory. We thank also the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their improvements to this manuscript. This work was supported by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant (UOO0602) to P.K.D.
Conflict of interest
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