Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 19;31(3):870-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5012-10.2011.

The GABAA receptor alpha+beta- interface: a novel target for subtype selective drugs.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Brain Research, Medical University Vienna, Austria.


GABA(A) receptors mediate the action of many clinically important drugs interacting with different binding sites. For some potential binding sites, no interacting drugs have yet been identified. Here, we established a steric hindrance procedure for the identification of drugs acting at the extracellular α1+β3- interface, which is homologous to the benzodiazepine binding site at the α1+γ2- interface. On screening of >100 benzodiazepine site ligands, the anxiolytic pyrazoloquinoline 2-p-methoxyphenylpyrazolo[4,3-c]quinolin-3(5H)-one (CGS 9895) was able to enhance GABA-induced currents at α1β3 receptors from rat. CGS 9895 acts as an antagonist at the benzodiazepine binding site at nanomolar concentrations, but enhances GABA-induced currents via a different site present at α1β3γ2 and α1β3 receptors. By mutating pocket-forming amino acid residues at the α1+ and the β3- side to cysteines, we demonstrated that covalent labeling of these cysteines by the methanethiosulfonate ethylamine reagent MTSEA-biotin was able to inhibit the effect of CGS 9895. The inhibition was not caused by a general inactivation of GABA(A) receptors, because the GABA-enhancing effect of ROD 188 or the steroid α-tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone was not influenced by MTSEA-biotin. Other experiments indicated that the CGS 9895 effect was dependent on the α and β subunit types forming the interface. CGS 9895 thus represents the first prototype of drugs mediating benzodiazepine-like modulatory effects via the α+β- interface of GABA(A) receptors. Since such binding sites are present at αβ, αβγ, and αβδ receptors, such drugs will have a much broader action than benzodiazepines and might become clinical important for the treatment of epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center