Co-expression of γ2 subunits hinders processing of N-linked glycans attached to the N104 glycosylation sites of GABAA receptor β2 subunits

Wen Yi Lo, Andre H. Lagrange, Ciria C. Hernandez, Katharine N. Gurba, Robert L. Macdonald

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6 Scopus citations


GABAA receptors, the major mediators of fast inhibitory neuronal transmission, are heteropentameric glycoproteins assembled from a panel of subunits, usually including α and β subunits with or without a γ2 subunit. The α1β2γ2 receptor is the most abundant GABAA receptor in brain. Co-expression of γ2 with α1 and β2 subunits causes conformational changes, increases GABAA receptor channel conductance, and prolongs channel open times. We reported previously that glycosylation of the three β2 subunit glycosylation sites, N32, N104 and N173, was important for α1β2 receptor channel gating. Here, we examined the hypothesis that steric effects or conformational changes caused by γ2 subunit co-expression alter the glycosylation of partnering β2 subunits. We found that coexpression of γ2 subunits hindered processing of β2 subunit N104 N-glycans in HEK293T cells. This γ2 subunit-dependent effect was strong enough that a decrease of γ2 subunit expression in heterozygous GABRG2 knockout (γ2+/-) mice led to appreciable changes in the endoglycosidase H digestion pattern of neuronal β2 subunits. Interestingly, as measured by flow cytometry, γ2 subunit surface levels were decreased by mutating each of the β2 subunit glycosylation sites. The β2 subunit mutation N104Q also decreased GABA potency to evoke macroscopic currents and reduced conductance, mean open time and open probability of single channel currents. Collectively, our data suggested that γ2 subunits interacted with β2 subunit N-glycans and/or subdomains containing the glycosylation sites, and that γ2 subunit co-expression-dependent alterations in the processing of the β2 subunit N104 N-glycans were involved in altering the function of surface GABA A receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1103
Number of pages16
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Assembly
  • GABA(A) receptor
  • Gating
  • Glycoprotein
  • Neurology
  • Patch-clamp


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