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Biochemistry. 1983 Apr 12;22(8):1811-9.

Organization of ligand binding sites at the acetylcholine receptor: a study with monoclonal antibodies.


We have studied 20 monoclonal antibodies directed against both the solubilized and the membrane-bound receptor from Torpedo marmorata. We find the following: (i) Six of the antibodies compete with cholinergic ligands for receptor binding and, hence, are directed against the ligand binding regions. (ii) Of these six antibodies, two cross-react with receptor from Electrophorus electricus, rat myotubes, and chicken sympathetic ganglia. These two antibodies therefore define a preserved structure within the ligand binding regions. The other four antibodies bind to structures not common between the receptor preparations tested. (iii) From competition binding studies using internally 3H-labeled antibodies, nine nonoverlapping antigenic regions were defined at the surface of the receptor. Three of these regions overlap with the ligand binding regions. Since two of these three regions do not overlap with each other, two structurally distinct ligand binding regions must exist at the receptor. (iv) From competition binding studies with representative cholinergic ligands, the antibodies directed against the ligand binding regions can be subdivided into three groups: one group competes with all ligands tested; the second group competes with all ligands except the bismethonium compounds; the third group competes with all ligands except the bismethonium compounds and tubocurarine. The results are summarized in a model of the organization of ligand binding sites at the receptor: There are two ligand binding regions differing in their antigenic properties. Furthermore, either there exists separate sites for distinct groups of ligands within each of these binding regions or some ligands produce conformational changes of the receptor that reversibly abolish some antigenic sites. In any case, the cholinergic ligands must interact with the receptor by more and/or other structural determinants than are provided by the structure of acetylcholine.

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