Objective. To identify the influence of changes on the secondary structure and evolutionary relationship of NMDA, AMPA and kainate receptors in Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus and Macaca mulatta. Materials and methods. We identified 91 sequences for NMDA, AMPA and kainate receptors and analyzed with software for predicting secondary structure, phosphorylation sites, multiple alignments, selection of protein evolution models and phylogenetic prediction. Results. We found that subunits GLUR5, NR2A, NR2C and NR3A showed structural changes in the C-terminal region and formation or loss of phosphorylation sites in this zone. Additionally the phylogenetic prediction suggests that the NMDA NR2 subunits are the closest to the ancestral node that gives rise to the other subunits. Conclusions. Changes in structure and phosphorylation sites in GLUR5, NR2A, NR2C and NR3A subunits suggest variations in the interaction of the C-terminal region with kinase proteins and with proteins with PDZ domains, which could affect the trafficking and anchoring of the subunits. On the other hand, the phylogenetic prediction suggests that the changes that occurred in the NR2 subunits gave rise to the other subunits of glutamate ionotropic receptors, primarily because the NMDA and particularly the NR2D subunits are the most closely related to the ancestral node that possibly gave rise to the iGluRs.
Key words: glutamate ionotropic receptors, iGluRs, NMDA, NR1, NR2A, NR2C, NR3A, AMPA, GluR5.