Inducible expression of neuronal glutamate receptor channels in the NT2 human cell line.
Glutamate receptor (GluR) channels are responsible for a number of fundamental properties of the mammalian central nervous system, including nearly all excitatory synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, and excitotoxin-mediated neuronal death. Although many human and rodent neuroblast cell lines are available, none has been directly shown to express GluR channels. We report here that cells from the human teratocarcinoma line NT2 are induced by retinoic acid to express neuronal N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA GluR channels concomitant with their terminal differentiation into neuron-like cells. The molecular and physiologic characteristics of these human GluR channels are nearly identical to those in central nervous system neurons, as demonstrated by PCR and patch clamp recordings, and the cells demonstrate glutamate-induced neurotoxicity.