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Functional characterization of neurotransmitter activation and modulation in a nematode model ligand-gated ion channel
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).
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Number of Authors: 62016 (English)In: Journal of Neurochemistry, ISSN 0022-3042, E-ISSN 1471-4159, Vol. 138, no 2, p. 243-253Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The superfamily of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels includes neurotransmitter receptors that mediate fast synaptic transmission in vertebrates, and are targets for drugs including alcohols, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, and anticonvulsants. However, the mechanisms of ion channel opening, gating, and modulation in these receptors leave many open questions, despite their pharmacological importance. Subtle conformational changes in both the extracellular and transmembrane domains are likely to influence channel opening, but have been difficult to characterize given the limited structural data available for human membrane proteins. Recent crystal structures of a modified Caenorhabditis elegans glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl) in multiple states offer an appealing model system for structure-function studies. However, the pharmacology of the crystallographic GluCl construct is not well established. To establish the functional relevance of this system, we used two-electrode voltage-clamp electrophysiology in Xenopus oocytes to characterize activation of crystallographic and native-like GluCl constructs by L-glutamate and ivermectin. We also tested modulation by ethanol and other anesthetic agents, and used site-directed mutagenesis to explore the role of a region of Loop F which was implicated in ligand gating by molecular dynamics simulations. Our findings indicate that the crystallographic construct functionally models concentration-dependent agonism and allosteric modulation of pharmacologically relevant receptors. Specific substitutions at residue Leu174 in loop F altered direct L-glutamate activation, consistent with computational evidence for this region's role in ligand binding. These insights demonstrate conservation of activation and modulation properties in this receptor family, and establish a framework for GluCl as a model system, including new possibilities for drug discovery. In this study, we elucidate the validity of a modified glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl(cryst)) as a structurally accessible model for GABA(A) receptors. In contrast to native-like controls, GluCl(cryst) exhibits classical activation by its neurotransmitter ligand L-glutamate. The modified channel is also sensitive to allosteric modulators associated with human GABA(A) receptors, and to site-directed mutations predicted to alter channel opening.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 138, no 2, p. 243-253
Keywords [en]
anesthetic, cys-loop receptor, GluCl, Ion channel, pLGIC
National Category
Biophysics Medicinal Chemistry
Research subject
Biochemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133228DOI: 10.1111/jnc.13644ISI: 000380263700004PubMedID: 27102368OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-133228DiVA, id: diva2:968776
Available from: 2016-09-12 Created: 2016-09-05 Last updated: 2018-03-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Allosteric modulation of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels by general anesthetics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Allosteric modulation of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels by general anesthetics
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) are key components of fast synaptic transmission and are targets of neuroactive drugs such as benzodiazepines, alcohol and muscle relaxants. Although early theories of general anesthesia suggested non-specific lipid interaction as the mechanism of anesthetic action, it has now become evident that they too bind to pLGICs. While general anesthetics act as positive allosteric modulators on most anion-conducting pLGICs, they inhibit cation-conducting channels. A detailed structural mechanism of how such opposite allosteric effects emerge has yet to be presented.

This thesis investigates the structure-function relationship underlying the dynamics of channel activation and explores the mechanisms behind allosteric modulation by general anesthetics. Key model systems include the glutamate-gated chloride channel of C. elegans (GluCl) and the G. violaceus ligand-gated ion channel (GLIC), that show considerable structural homology to mammalian channel but with the added simplicity of homomeric assembly and accessibility to crystallization. Functional assessment is performed through recombinant expression of the channels in Xenopus oocytes, which are then used for two-electrode voltage clamp electrophysiology. These measurements are combined with recent advances in structure determination and computational simulations to propose structural mechanisms behind the functional effects.

In this thesis I present the exploration and validation of the crystallographic construct GluCl as a model system to explore fundamental questions of mammalian pLGIC function. Further studies contribute to the understanding of the basis of allosteric modulation by identifying responsible binding sites for both potentiation and inhibition by general anesthetics in GLIC and substantiate a structural mechanism for these effects. The studies also offer a link between receptor- and lipid-based theories of anesthesia, and demonstrate successful discovery of new lead compounds with general anesthetic properties using virtual screening. The thesis therefore makes a contribution to the fundamental understanding of allosteric modulation in pLGICs and builds on the basis for rational drug discovery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, 2018
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research subject
Biochemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154106 (URN)978-91-7797-151-1 (ISBN)978-91-7797-152-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-05-04, Magnéli Hall, Chemical Practice Laboratory, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-04-11 Created: 2018-03-15 Last updated: 2018-04-09

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