Major depressive and bipolar disorders are serious illnesses that affect millions of people. Growing evidence implicates glutamate signalling in depression, though the molecular mechanism by which glutamate signalling regulates depression-related behaviour remains unknown. In this study, we provide evidence suggesting that tyrosine phosphorylation of the NMDA receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor, contributes to depression-related behaviour. The NR2A subunit of the NMDA receptor is tyrosine-phosphorylated, with Tyr 1325 as its one of the major phosphorylation site. We have generated mice expressing mutant NR2A with a Tyr-1325-Phe mutation to prevent the phosphorylation of this site in vivo. The homozygous knock-in mice show antidepressant-like behaviour in the tail suspension test and in the forced swim test. In the striatum of the knock-in mice, DARPP-32 phosphorylation at Thr 34, which is important for the regulation of depression-related behaviour, is increased. We also show that the Tyr 1325 phosphorylation site is required for Src-induced potentiation of the NMDA receptor channel in the striatum. These data argue that Tyr 1325 phosphorylation regulates NMDA receptor channel properties and the NMDA receptor-mediated downstream signalling to modulate depression-related behaviour.
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