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Biochem J. 1999 Sep 1;342 ( Pt 2):313-20.

Structural requirement of the calcium-channel subunit alpha2delta for gabapentin binding.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division of Warner-Lambert Company, 2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Gabapentin [Neurontin, 1-(aminomethyl)cyclohexaneacetic acid] is a novel anticonvulsant drug with a high binding affinity for the Ca(2+)-channel subunit alpha(2)delta. In this study, the gabapentin-binding properties of wild-type and mutated porcine brain alpha(2)delta proteins were investigated. Removal of the disulphide bonds between the alpha(2) and the delta subunits did not result in a significant loss of gabapentin binding, suggesting that the disulphide linkage between the two subunits is not required for binding. Singly expressed alpha(2) protein remained membrane associated. However, alpha(2) alone was unable to bind gabapentin, unless the cells were concurrently transfected with the expression vector for delta, suggesting that both alpha(2) and delta are required for gabapentin binding. Using internal deletion mutagenesis, we mapped two regions [amino acid residues 339-365 (DeltaF) and 875-905 (DeltaJ)] within the alpha(2) subunit that are not required for gabapentin binding. Further, deletion of three other individual regions [amino acid residues 206-222 (DeltaD), 516-537 (DeltaH) and 583-603 (DeltaI)] within the alpha(2) subunit disrupted gabapentin binding, suggesting the structural importance of these regions. Using alanine to replace four to six amino acid residues in each of these regions abolished gabapentin binding. These results demonstrate that region D, between the N-terminal end and the first putative transmembrane domain of alpha(2), and regions H and I, between the putative splicing acceptor sites (Gln(511) and Ser(601)), may play important roles in maintaining the structural integrity for gabapentin binding. Further single amino acid replacement mutagenesis within these regions identified Arg(217) as critical for gabapentin binding.

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