Unequal expression of allelic kainate receptor GluR7 mRNAs in human brains

Hans H. Schiffer*, Geoffrey T. Swanson, Elizier Masliah, Stephen F. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We describe here the first example of an exonic polymorphism that affects the primary structure of a human ionotropic glutamate receptor. The human kainate receptor GluR7 gene contains a thymine (T)/guanine (G) nucleotide variation that determines a serine or alanine at position 310 in the extracellular region of GluR7 receptor subunits. Our finding contrasts with a previous report that suggested that GluR7 transcripts were RNA-edited at this site. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings did not detect differences in receptor activation and desensitization between the human GluR7 receptor isoforms expressed in HEK-293 cells. Analysis of 41 tissue samples obtained from 30 human brains revealed expression level differences between GluR7 alleles expressed in the same brain. The expression level of the allelic GluR7 mRNAs differed in 27 samples from 1.2- to 12.7-fold. Unequal expression level of allelic mRNAs is characteristic for genes that are affected by genomic imprinting or that contain mutations. Genomic imprinting in most cases is conserved between human and mice. However, we did not detect unequal expression of allelic GluR7 mRNAs in mice. Our results are important for future studies that explore a potential role or roles for GluR7 receptors in the brain and for neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9025-9033
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2000


  • Allele expression
  • Genomic imprinting
  • GluR7
  • Kainate receptor
  • Polymorphism
  • RNA editing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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