Karakas E, Furukawa H.
Crystal structure of a heterotetrameric NMDA receptor ion channel.
Science. 2014 May 30;344(6187):992-7.
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Even though the atomic structure of the NMDA receptor-channel complex in parts has been described or modelled in detail and the molecular correlates dictating its functionality are generally understood, this elegant study by Karakas and Furukawa presents a major further development. It confidently lines up with the work by Hayashi, Watkins, Nowak, Sobolevsky, and co-workers on this intriguing and highly important protein (channel) and is likely to have major implications for the field of synaptic biology and several specialized areas of neuroscience research. It is reassuring that the now fully deciphered three-dimensional structure of the NMDA heterotetramer reveals no major surprises but confirms and consolidates the knowledge already gained over several decades of research.