The N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor in heart development: A gene knockdown model using siRNA

Octavian V. Lie, Gregory D. Bennett, Thomas H. Rosenquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Antagonists of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) may disrupt the development of the cardiac neural crest (CNC) and contribute to conotruncal heart defects. To test this interaction, a loss-of-function model was generated using small interfering RNAs (siRNA) directed against the critical NR1-subunit of this receptor in avian embryos. The coding sequence of the chicken NR1 gene and predicted protein sequences were characterized and found to be homologous with other vertebrate species. Analysis of its spatiotemporal expression demonstrated its expression within the neural tube at pre-migratory CNC sites. siRNA targeted to the NR1-mRNA in pre-migratory CNC lead to a significant decrease in NR1 protein expression. However, embryo survival and heart development were not adversely affected. These results indicate that the CNC may function normally in the absence of functional NMDAR, and that NMDAR antagonists may have a complex impact upon the CNC that transcends impairment of a single receptor type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chicken embryo
  • Electroporation
  • Heart defects
  • Homocysteine
  • NMDA receptor
  • NR1-subunit
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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