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Science 300 (5621): 990-994

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Asymmetrical Allocation of NMDA Receptor {epsilon}2 Subunits in Hippocampal Circuitry

Ryosuke Kawakami,1* Yoshiaki Shinohara,2* Yuichiro Kato,3 Hiroyuki Sugiyama,3 Ryuichi Shigemoto,2,4 Isao Ito3{dagger}

Abstract: Despite its implications for higher order functions of the brain, little is currently known about the molecular basis of left-right asymmetry of the brain. Here we report that synaptic distribution of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor GluR{epsilon}2 (NR2B) subunits in the adult mouse hippocampus is asymmetrical between the left and right and between the apical and basal dendrites of single neurons. These asymmetrical allocations of {epsilon}2 subunits differentiate the properties of NMDA receptors and synaptic plasticity between the left and right hippocampus. These results provide a molecular basis for the structural and functional asymmetry of the mature brain.

1 Department of Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.
2 Division of Cerebral Structure, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, School of Life Science, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan.
3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan.
4 CREST Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Kawaguchi, Japan.

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* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: isitoscb{at}

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