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J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 11;280(45):37877-84. Epub 2005 Sep 6.

Molecular basis for zinc potentiation at strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, University College London, UK.

Abstract

The divalent cation Zn(2+) is a potent potentiator at the strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor (GlyR). This occurs at nanomolar concentrations, which are the predicted endogenous levels of extracellular neuronal Zn(2+). Using structural modeling and functional mutagenesis, we have identified the molecular basis for the elusive Zn(2+) potentiation site on GlyRs and account for the differential sensitivity of GlyR alpha(1) and GlyR alpha(2) to Zn(2+) potentiation. In addition, juxtaposed to this Zn(2+) site, which is located externally on the N-terminal domain of the alpha subunit, another residue was identified in the nearby Cys loop, a region that is critical for receptor gating in all Cys loop ligand-gated ion channels. This residue acted as a key control element in the allosteric transduction pathway for Zn(2+) potentiation, enabling either potentiation or overt inhibition of receptor activation depending upon the moiety resident at this location. Overall, we propose that Zn(2+) binds to a site on the extracellular outer face of the GlyR alpha subunit and exerts its positive allosteric effect via an interaction with the Cys loop to increase the efficacy of glycine receptor gating.

PMID:
16144831
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M508303200
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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