The inhibitory glycine receptor: A ligand‐gated chloride channel of the central nervous system

Dieter LANGOSCH, Cord‐Michael ‐M BECKER, Heinrich BETZ

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


The postsynaptic glycine receptor (GlyR) is a major inhibitory chloride channel protein in the central nervous system. The affinity‐purified receptor contains polypeptides of 48 kDa, 58 kDa, and 93 kDa. The 48‐kDa (α) and 58 kDa (β) subunits span the postsynaptic membrane in a pentameric arrangement to form the anion channel of the receptor. The 93‐kDa polypeptide is cytoplasmically localized and may have an anchoring function. Molecular cloning revealed that different structural characteristics are shared by the membrane‐spanning subunits of the GlyR and those of other ligand‐gated ion channel proteins. Developmental regulation of the GlyR is characterized by alterations in antagonist binding, heterogeneity of α subunits, and increased levels of the 93‐kDa polypeptide. Glycine receptor function can be reconstituted by expression of cloned α subunits in heterologous cell systems. Positive charges found at the presumed mouths of the GlyR channel appear to be important determinants of ion selectivity. These data establish the anion‐conducting GlyR as a homolog of other ligand‐gated ion channel proteins and suggest that the diversity of these channels originates from divergent evolution of a primordial channel protein early in phylogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1990
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The inhibitory glycine receptor: A ligand‐gated chloride channel of the central nervous system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this