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FEBS Lett. 1991 Sep 9;289(2):193-200.

A ring of uncharged polar amino acids as a component of channel constriction in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

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Department of Medical Chemistry, Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, Japan.


The channel pore of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) has been investigated by analysing single-channel conductances of systematically mutated Torpedo receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The mutations mainly alter the size and polarity of uncharged polar amino acid residues of the acetylcholine receptor subunits positioned between the cytoplasmic ring and the extracellular ring. From the results obtained, we conclude that a ring of uncharged polar residues comprising threonine 244 of the alpha-subunit (alpha T244), beta S250, gamma T253 and delta S258 (referred to as the central ring) and the anionic intermediate ring, which are adjacent to each other in the assumed alpha-helical configuration of the M2-containing transmembrane segment, together form a narrow channel constriction of short length, located close to the cytoplasmic side of the membrane. Our results also suggest that individual subunits, particularly the gamma-subunit, are asymmetrically positioned at the channel constriction.

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