National Center for
4ALX: Crystal Structure of Ls-AChBP complexed with the potent nAChR antagonist DHbE
Crystal structure of Lymnaea stagnalis AChBP complexed with the potent nAChR antagonist DHbetaE suggests a unique mode of antagonism
PLoS ONE (2012) 7 p.e40757
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels that belong to the Cys-loop receptor superfamily. These receptors are allosteric proteins that exist in different conformational states, including resting (closed), activated (open), and desensitized (closed) states. The acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) is a structural homologue of the extracellular ligand-binding domain of nAChRs. In previous studies, the degree of the C-loop radial extension of AChBP has been assigned to different conformational states of nAChRs. It has been suggested that a closed C-loop is preferred for the active conformation of nAChRs in complex with agonists whereas an open C-loop reflects an antagonist-bound (closed) state. In this work, we have determined the crystal structure of AChBP from the water snail Lymnaea stagnalis (Ls) in complex with dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE), which is a potent competitive antagonist of nAChRs. The structure reveals that binding of DHbetaE to AChBP imposes closure of the C-loop as agonists, but also a shift perpendicular to previously observed C-loop movements. These observations suggest that DHbetaE may antagonize the receptor via a different mechanism compared to prototypical antagonists and toxins.