Cleavage of the intracellular carboxyl terminus of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor 2 subunit (NR2) by calpain regulates NMDA receptor function and localization. Here, we show that Fyn-mediated phosphorylation of NR2B controls calpain-mediated NR2B cleavage. In cultured neurons, calpain-mediated NR2B cleavage is significantly attenuated by blocking NR2B phosphorylation of Tyr-1336, but not Tyr-1472, via inhibition of Src family kinase activity or decreasing Fyn levels by small interfering RNA. In HEK cells, mutation of Tyr-1336 eliminates the potentiating effect of Fyn on calpain-mediated NR2B cleavage. The potentiation of NR2B cleavage by Fyn is limited to cell surface receptors and is associated with calpain translocation to plasma membranes during NMDA receptor activation. Finally, reducing full-length NR2B by calpain does not decrease extrasynaptic NMDA receptor function, and truncated NR1/2B receptors similar to those generated by calpain have electrophysiological properties matching those of wild-type receptors. Thus, the Fyn-controlled regulation of NMDA receptor cleavage by calpain may play critical roles in controlling NMDA receptor properties during synaptic plasticity and excitotoxicity.
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