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Biochemistry. 1986 Feb 25;25(4):830-40.

Correlation between acetylcholine receptor function and structural properties of membranes.


Protein-lipid interactions were studied by using Torpedo californica acetylcholine receptor (AChR) as a model system by reconstituting purified AChR into membranes containing various synthetic lipids and native lipids. AChR function was determined by measuring two activities at 4 degrees C: (1) low to high agonist affinity-state transition of AChR in the presence of an agonist (carbamylcholine) in either membrane fragments or sealed vesicles and (2) ion-gating activity of AChR-containing vesicles in response to carbamylcholine. Sixteen samples were examined, each containing different lipid compositions including phosphatidylcholine, cholesterol, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylethanolamine, asolectin, neutral lipid depleted asolectin, native lipids, and cholesterol-depleted native lipids. Phosphatidylcholines with different configurations of fatty acyl chains were used. The dynamic structures of these membranes were probed by incorporating spin-labeled fatty acid into AChR-containing vesicles and measuring the order parameters. It was found that both aspects of AChR function were highly dependent on the lipid environment even though carbamylcholine binding itself was not affected. An appropriate membrane fluidity was necessarily required to allow the interconversion between the low and high affinity states of AChR. An optimal fluidity hypothesis is proposed to account for the conformational transition properties of membrane proteins. In addition, the conformational change was only a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the AChR-mediated ion flux activity. Among membranes in which AChR manifested the affinity-state transition, only those containing both cholesterol and negatively charged phospholipids (such as phosphatidic acid) retained the ion-gating activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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