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GRIN2B gene

glutamate ionotropic receptor NMDA type subunit 2B

Normal Function

The GRIN2B gene provides instructions for making a protein called GluN2B. This protein is found in nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, primarily during development before birth. The GluN2B protein is one component (subunit) of a subset of specialized protein structures called NMDA receptors. There are several types of NMDA receptors, made up of different combinations of proteins.

NMDA receptors are glutamate-gated ion channels. When brain chemicals called glutamate and glycine attach to the receptor, a channel opens, allowing positively charged particles (cations) to flow through. The flow of cations activates (excites) neurons to send signals to each other. The cation flow also plays a role in the process by which the neurons mature to carry out specific functions (differentiation). NMDA receptors are involved in normal brain development, changes in the brain in response to experience (synaptic plasticity), learning, and memory.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

GRIN2B-related neurodevelopmental disorder

Several dozen mutations in the GRIN2B gene have been found to cause GRIN2B-related neurodevelopmental disorder, which is characterized by intellectual disability and delayed development of speech and motor skills. Other neurological problems that commonly occur in this disorder include seizures, weak muscle tone (hypotonia), movement disorders, and behavioral problems.

Many GRIN2B gene mutations lead to production of a nonfunctional GluN2B protein or prevent the production of any GluN2B protein from one copy of the gene in each cell. A shortage of this protein may reduce the number of functional NMDA receptors, which would reduce receptor activity in cells. Other mutations lead to the production of abnormal GluN2B proteins that likely alter how the NMDA receptors function; some mutations reduce NMDA receptor signaling while others increase it. Researchers are unsure how abnormal activity of NMDA receptors prevents normal growth and development of the brain or why too much or too little activity lead to similar neurological problems in people with GRIN2B-related neurodevelopmental disorder.

More About This Health Condition

Autism spectrum disorder

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Autism spectrum disorder

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • GluN2B
  • glutamate [NMDA] receptor subunit epsilon-2
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, NMDA 2B precursor
  • glutamate receptor subunit epsilon-2
  • glutamate receptor, ionotropic, N-methyl D-aspartate 2B
  • hNR3
  • N-methyl D-aspartate receptor subtype 2B
  • NR2B

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Bell S, Maussion G, Jefri M, Peng H, Theroux JF, Silveira H, Soubannier V, Wu H, Hu P, Galat E, Torres-Platas SG, Boudreau-Pinsonneault C, O'Leary LA, Galat V, Turecki G, Durcan TM, Fon EA, Mechawar N, Ernst C. Disruption of GRIN2B Impairs Differentiation in Human Neurons. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Jul 10;11(1):183-196. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.05.018. Epub 2018 Jun 21. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Fedele L, Newcombe J, Topf M, Gibb A, Harvey RJ, Smart TG. Disease-associated missense mutations in GluN2B subunit alter NMDA receptor ligand binding and ion channel properties. Nat Commun. 2018 Mar 6;9(1):957. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-02927-4. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Freunscht I, Popp B, Blank R, Endele S, Moog U, Petri H, Prott EC, Reis A, Rubo J, Zabel B, Zenker M, Hebebrand J, Wieczorek D. Behavioral phenotype in five individuals with de novo mutations within the GRIN2B gene. Behav Brain Funct. 2013 May 29;9:20. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-9-20. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Hu C, Chen W, Myers SJ, Yuan H, Traynelis SF. Human GRIN2B variants in neurodevelopmental disorders. J Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Oct;132(2):115-121. doi: 10.1016/j.jphs.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 19. Erratum In: J Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Apr;133(4):280. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Platzer K, Yuan H, Schutz H, Winschel A, Chen W, Hu C, Kusumoto H, Heyne HO, Helbig KL, Tang S, Willing MC, Tinkle BT, Adams DJ, Depienne C, Keren B, Mignot C, Frengen E, Stromme P, Biskup S, Docker D, Strom TM, Mefford HC, Myers CT, Muir AM, LaCroix A, Sadleir L, Scheffer IE, Brilstra E, van Haelst MM, van der Smagt JJ, Bok LA, Moller RS, Jensen UB, Millichap JJ, Berg AT, Goldberg EM, De Bie I, Fox S, Major P, Jones JR, Zackai EH, Abou Jamra R, Rolfs A, Leventer RJ, Lawson JA, Roscioli T, Jansen FE, Ranza E, Korff CM, Lehesjoki AE, Courage C, Linnankivi T, Smith DR, Stanley C, Mintz M, McKnight D, Decker A, Tan WH, Tarnopolsky MA, Brady LI, Wolff M, Dondit L, Pedro HF, Parisotto SE, Jones KL, Patel AD, Franz DN, Vanzo R, Marco E, Ranells JD, Di Donato N, Dobyns WB, Laube B, Traynelis SF, Lemke JR. GRIN2B encephalopathy: novel findings on phenotype, variant clustering, functional consequences and treatment aspects. J Med Genet. 2017 Jul;54(7):460-470. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2016-104509. Epub 2017 Apr 4. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Swanger SA, Chen W, Wells G, Burger PB, Tankovic A, Bhattacharya S, Strong KL, Hu C, Kusumoto H, Zhang J, Adams DR, Millichap JJ, Petrovski S, Traynelis SF, Yuan H. Mechanistic Insight into NMDA Receptor Dysregulation by Rare Variants in the GluN2A and GluN2B Agonist Binding Domains. Am J Hum Genet. 2016 Dec 1;99(6):1261-1280. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Nov 10. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.