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Physiol Res. 2010;59(6):927-35. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Roles of conserved ectodomain cysteines of the rat P2X4 purinoreceptor in agonist binding and channel gating.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


Mammalian P2X receptors contain 10 conserved cysteine residues in their ectodomains, which form five disulfide bonds (SS1-5). Here, we analyzed the relevance of these disulfide pairs in rat P2X4 receptor function by replacing one or both cysteines with alanine or threonine, expressing receptors in HEK293 cells and studying their responsiveness to ATP in the absence and presence of ivermectin, an allostenic modulator of these channels. Response to ATP was not altered when both cysteines forming the SS3 bond (C132-C159) were replaced with threonines. Replacement of SS1 (C116-C165), SS2 (C126-C149) and SS4 (C217-C227), but not SS5 (C261-C270), cysteine pairs with threonines resulted in decreased sensitivity to ATP and faster deactivation times. The maximum current amplitude was reduced in SS2, SS4 and SS5 double mutants and could be partially rescued by ivermectin in SS2 and SS5 double mutants. This response pattern was also observed in numerous single residue mutants, but receptor function was not affected when the 217 cysteine was replaced with threonine or arginine or when the 261 cysteine was replaced with alanine. These results suggest that the SS1, SS2 and SS4 bonds contribute substantially to the structure of the ligand binding pocket, while the SS5 bond located towards the transmembrane domain contributes to receptor gating.

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