Postsynaptic serine racemase regulates NMDA receptor function

Jonathan M. Wong, Oluwarotimi O. Folorunso, Eden V. Barragan, Cristina Berciu, Theresa L. Harvey, Joseph T. Coyle, Darrick T. Balu, John A. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


D-serine is the primary NMDAR coagonist at mature forebrain synapses and is synthesized by the enzyme serine racemase (SR). However, our understanding of the mechanisms regulating the availability of synaptic D-serine remains limited. Though early studies suggested D-serine is synthesized and released from astrocytes, more recent studies have demonstrated a predominantly neuronal localization of SR. More specifically, recent work intriguingly suggests that SR may be found at the postsynaptic density, yet the functional implications of postsynaptic SR on synaptic transmission are not yet known. Here, we show an age-dependent dendritic and postsynaptic localization of SR and D-serine by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy in mouse CA1 pyramidal neurons. In addition, using a single-neuron genetic approach in SR conditional KO mice from both sexes, we demonstrate a cell-autonomous role for SR in regulating synaptic NMDAR function at Schaffer collateral (CA3)-CA1 synapses. Importantly, single-neuron genetic deletion of SR resulted in the elimination of LTP at 1 month of age, which could be rescued by exogenous D-serine. Interestingly, there was a restoration of LTP by 2 months of age that was associated with an upregulation of synaptic GluN2B. Our findings support a cell-autonomous role for postsynaptic neuronal SR in regulating synaptic NMDAR function and suggests a possible autocrine mode of D-serine action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9564-9575
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 9 2020


  • GluN2A
  • Glycine
  • NR2A
  • NR2B
  • Plasticity
  • Srr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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