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Sci Signal. 2016 Apr 5;9(422):ra35. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aad6281.

Defining the stoichiometry of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate binding required to initiate Ca2+ release.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.
Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptors (IP3Rs) are tetrameric intracellular Ca(2+)-release channels with each subunit containing a binding site for IP3in the amino terminus. We provide evidence that four IP3molecules are required to activate the channel under diverse conditions. Comparing the concentration-response relationship for binding and Ca(2+)release suggested that IP3Rs are maximally occupied by IP3before substantial Ca(2+)release occurs. We showed that ligand binding-deficient subunits acted in a dominant-negative manner when coexpressed with wild-type monomers in the chicken immune cell line DT40-3KO, which lacks all three genes encoding IP3R subunits, and confirmed the same effect in an IP3R-null human cell line (HEK-3KO) generated by CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Using dimeric and tetrameric concatenated IP3Rs with increasing numbers of binding-deficient subunits, we addressed the obligate ligand stoichiometry. The concatenated IP3Rs with four ligand-binding sites exhibited Ca(2+)release and electrophysiological properties of native IP3Rs. However, IP3failed to activate IP3Rs assembled from concatenated dimers consisting of one binding-competent and one binding-deficient mutant subunit. Similarly, IP3Rs containing two monomers of IP3R2short, an IP3binding-deficient splice variant, were nonfunctional. Concatenated tetramers containing only three binding-competent ligand-binding sites were nonfunctional under a wide range of activating conditions. These data provide definitive evidence that IP3-induced Ca(2+)release only occurs when each IP3R monomer within the tetramer is occupied by IP3, thereby ensuring fidelity of Ca(2+)release.

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