News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience

1. Bending the Rules for Glutamate Receptors
Mark L. Mayer, Alokesh Ghosal, Nigel P. Dolman, and David E. Jane

This week, Mayer et al. literally stretch our structural understanding of ionotropic glutamate receptors (GluRs). The bi-lobed, clamshell configuration of the ligand-binding core of ionotropic glutamate receptors mostly has been investigated using S1S2 domains crystallized with agonist. The extracellular S1 and S2 domains envelop agonists with the extent of closure presumably important to channel gating. The authors report the crystal structure of the kainate receptor GluR5 bound to the novel, high-affinity antagonists UBP302 and UBP310. Crystal structures of GluR5UBP complexes showed a much more open conformation than other glutamate receptors, with GluR5UBP302 being the most extended. Although the authors were unable to crystallize the apolipoprotein (unbound) or resting form of GluR5 S1S2, their results suggest that kainate receptors undergo much larger conformation shifts than has been suggested by structural studies of AMPA receptors. Interestingly, large movements are the norm for their ancestors, the bacterial periplasmic binding proteins.

2. Forming the Deep Cerebellar Nuclei
Andrew J. Fink, Chris Englund, Ray A. M. Daza, Diane Pham, Charmaine Lau, Mary Nivison, Tom Kowalczyk, and Robert F. Hevner

This week, Fink et al. traced the origin of deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) projection neurons to the rhombic lip, using transcription factors as markers. The DCN cells marched rostrally to the nuclear transitory zone (NTZ) in a subpial stream. Along the way, the cells expressed Pax6, Tbr2, and Tbr1 consecutively, a sequence much like developing neurons of the cerebral cortex. In organotypic cultures, the rhombic lip alone was sufficient to produce this cell population. A subset of the cells expressed reelin, a guidance factor for Purkinje cells, but reelin was not required for DCN migration. Tbr1, however, wa

Contact: Sara Harris
Society for Neuroscience

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