Identification of amino acid residues of GABA(A) receptor subunits contributing to the formation and affinity of the tert-butylbicyclophosphorothionate binding site

J Neurochem. 2000 Mar;74(3):1310-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2000.741310.x.


A chimeric GABA(A) receptor subunit was constructed that contained the beta3 sequence from the N-terminus to the first two amino acids of the second transmembrane (TM2) domain. The remaining part of this chimera had the sequence of the alpha1 subunit. On co-expression with alpha1 subunits, this chimera was able to form heterooligomeric channels that were open in the absence of GABA. Picrotoxin and tert-butylbicyclophosphorothionate (TBPS) were able to block these channels with low potency. These channels exhibited high-affinity [3H]muscimol but no high-affinity [35S]TBPS binding sites. Introduction of V251, A252, and L253 of the beta3 subunit into the chimera resulted in the formation of closed channels that could be opened by GABA. The introduction of A252 and L253 of the beta3 subunit into this chimera was sufficient to reconstitute the specific high-affinity [35S]TBPS binding site in receptors composed of the chimera and alpha1 subunits. Replacement of other amino acids of the TM2 region of the chimera with corresponding amino acids of the beta3 subunit modulated the affinity of this [35S]TBPS binding site. Results obtained provide important information on the structure-function relationship of GABA(A) receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Chimera / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oocytes
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • tert-butylbicyclophosphorothionate