IJMS, Vol. 19, Pages 1929: NR1 and NR3B Composed Intranuclear N-methyl-d-aspartate Receptor Complexes in Human Melanoma Cells
International Journal of Molecular Sciences doi: 10.3390/ijms19071929
Heterotetrameric N-methyl-d-aspartate type glutamate receptors (NMDAR) are cationic channels primarily permeable for Ca2+. NR1 and NR3 subunits bind glycine, while NR2 subunits bind glutamate for full activation. As NR1 may contain a nuclear localization signal (NLS) that is recognized by importin-&alpha;, our aim was to investigate if NMDARs are expressed in the nuclei of melanocytes and melanoma cells. A detailed NMDAR subunit expression pattern was examined by RT-PCRs (reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction), fractionated western blots and immunocytochemistry in human epidermal melanocytes and in human melanoma cell lines A2058, HT199, HT168M1, MEL35/0 and WM35. All kind of NMDAR subunits are expressed as mRNAs in melanocytes, as well as in melanoma cells, while NR2B protein remained undetectable in any cell type. Western blots proved the exclusive presence of NR1 and NR3B in nuclear fractions and immunocytochemistry confirmed NR1-NR3B colocalization inside the nuclei of all melanoma cells. The same phenomenon was not observed in melanocytes. Moreover, protein database analysis revealed a putative NLS in NR3B subunit. Our results support that unusual, NR1-NR3B composed NMDAR complexes are present in the nuclei of melanoma cells. This may indicate a new malignancy-related histopathological feature of melanoma cells and raises the possibility of a glycine-driven, NMDA-related nuclear Ca2+-signalling in these cells.