There are presently four known isoforms of the α-subunit (α1-4) of GlyR that are essential to bind ligands (GLRA1, GLRA2, GLRA3, GLRA4) and a single β-subunit (GLRB).
The adult form of the GlyR is the heteromeric α1β receptor, which is believed to have a stoichiometry (proportion) of three α1 subunits and two β subunits
 or four α1 subunits and one β subunit. The α-subunits are also able to form functional homo-pentameric receptors in heterologous expression systems in African clawed frog's oocytes or mammalian cell lines, and the α1 homomeric receptor is essential for studies of channel pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
A mutation in GLRA1 is responsible for some cases of stiff person syndrome.
Quantum dots have been used to track the diffusion of glycine receptors into the synapse of neurons.
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