The regulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors by Src kinase


B. R. Groveman, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
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Src family kinases (SFKs) play critical roles in the regulation of many cellular functions by growth factors, G-protein-coupled receptors and ligand-gated ion channels. Recent data have shown that SFKs serve as a convergent point of multiple signaling pathways regulating N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the central nervous system. Multiple SFK molecules, such as Src and Fyn, closely associate with their substrate, NMDA receptors, via indirect and direct binding mechanisms. The NMDA receptor is associated with an SFK signaling complex consisting of SFKs; the SFK-activating phosphatase, protein tyrosine phosphatase α; and the SFK-inactivating kinase, C-terminal Src kinase. Early studies have demonstrated that intramolecular interactions with the SH2 or SH3 domain lock SFKs in a closed conformation. Disruption of the interdomain interactions can induce the activation of SFKs with multiple signaling pathways involved in regulation of this process. The enzyme activity of SFKs appears ‘graded’, exhibiting different levels coinciding with activation states. It has also been proposed that the SH2 and SH3 domains may stimulate catalytic activity of protein tyrosine kinases, such as Abl. Recently, it has been found that the enzyme activity of neuronal Src protein is associated with its stability, and that the SH2 and SH3 domain interactions may act not only to constrain the activation of neuronal Src, but also to regulate the enzyme activity of active neuronal Src. Collectively, these findings demonstrate novel mechanisms underlying the regulation of SFKs.