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Mol Pharmacol. 1993 Sep;44(3):657-66.

Mapping of ligand binding sites of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors using chimeric alpha subunits.

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Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030.


We constructed a series of chimeric neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor (nAChR) alpha subunits to map the location of amino acid residues that determine the pharmacological properties of these receptors. The alpha 2 and alpha 3 subunits form pharmacologically distinct nAChRs upon expression, in combination with the beta 2 subunit, in Xenopus oocytes. The alpha 2 beta 2 subunit combination is insensitive to the nicotinic antagonist neuronal bungarotoxin (NBT) and is much more sensitive to nicotine than to ACh. In contrast, the alpha 3 beta 2 subunit combination is potently inhibited by NBT and is much less sensitive to nicotine than to ACh. Chimeric subunits were constructed by replacing portions of alpha 2 or alpha 3 with the analogous portion of the other alpha subunit. Pharmacological analysis of receptors formed by these chimeric subunits, in combination with beta 2, revealed that amino acid residues involved in determining NBT sensitivity were located within sequence segments 84-121, 121-181, and 195-215. Amino acid residues that determine agonist sensitivity were located within sequence segments 1-84 and 195-215. Within region 195-215, we used site-directed mutagenesis to demonstrate the importance of Gln-198 of alpha 3 (proline in alpha 2) in determining both the antagonist sensitivity and the agonist sensitivity of neuronal nAChRs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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