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Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Apr;55(4):2897-2910. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0536-0. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Allosteric Inhibition of Serotonin 5-HT7 Receptors by Zinc Ions.

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Polish Academy of Sciences, Smetna 12, 31-343, Kraków, Poland.
Polish Academy of Sciences, Smetna 12, 31-343, Kraków, Poland.


The allosteric regulation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is a well-known phenomenon, but there are only a few examples of allosteric modulation within the metabotropic serotonergic receptor family. Recently, we described zinc non-competitive interactions toward agonist binding at serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, in which biphasic effects, involving potentiation at sub-micromolar concentrations (10 μM) and inhibition at sub-millimolar concentrations (500 μM) of Zn2+ in radioligand binding assays, were consistent with both the agonist and antagonist-like effects of zinc ions observed in in vivo studies. Here, we showed new data demonstrating zinc allosteric inhibition of both agonist and antagonist binding at human recombinant 5-HT7 receptors stably expressed in HEK293 cells as observed by radioligand binding studies as well as zinc neutral antagonism displayed by the concentration of 10 μM in the functional LANCE assay. The allosteric nature of the effect of Zn on 5-HT7 receptors was confirmed (1) in saturation studies in which zinc inhibited the binding of potent orthosteric 5-HT7 receptor radioligands, the agonist [3H]5-CT, and the two antagonists [3H]SB-269970 and [3H]mesulergine, showing ceiling effect and differences in the magnitude of negative cooperativity (α = 0.15, 0.06, and 0.25, respectively); (2) in competition experiments in which 500 μM of zinc inhibited all radioligand displacements by non-labeled orthosteric ligands (5-CT, SB-269970, and clozapine), and the most significant reduction in affinity was observed for the 5-CT agonist (4.9-16.7-fold) compared with both antagonists (1.4-3.9-fold); and (3) in kinetic experiments in which 500 μM zinc increased the dissociation rate constants for [3H]5-CT and [3H]mesulergine but not for [3H]SB-269970. Additionally, in the functional LANCE test using the constitutively active HEK293 cell line expressing the 5-HT7 receptor, 10 μM zinc had features of neutral antagonism and increased the EC50 value of the 5-CT agonist by a factor of 3.2. Overall, these results showed that zinc can act as a negative allosteric inhibitor of 5-HT7 receptors. Given that the inhibiting effects of low concentrations of zinc in the functional assay represent the most likely direction of zinc activity under physiological conditions, among numerous zinc-regulated proteins, the 5-HT7 receptor can be considered a serotonergic target for zinc modulation in the CNS.


Allosteric modulation; Radioligand binding; Serotonin 5-HT7 receptor; Zn

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