The structural basis for the selectivity of the antagonist UH-AH 37 at human muscarinic acetylcholine receptors was investigated by expressing mutant receptors in COS-7 cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that the interaction between UH-AH 37 and [(3)H]N-methylscopolamine in equilibrium assays is competitive and that the high affinity of UH-AH 37 for the M(5) subtype, compared to M(2), is due to an epitope in the sixth transmembrane domain (TM6) or the third outer loop of the receptor. By mutating each nonconserved residue in this region of M(2) and M(5) to its counterpart in the other receptor, we identified a threonine residue in the middle of TM6 uniquely responsible for the higher affinity of the M(5) receptor (M(1), M(3), and M(4) receptors also carry a threonine at that location and also have high affinity for UH-AH 37). The mutant receptor in which the corresponding alanine of the M(2) receptor was replaced by threonine, M(2)(401)ala --> thr, expressed enhanced affinity for pirenzepine as well as for UH-AH 37. The chick M(2) receptor, which expresses anomalously high affinity for pirenzepine, differs from its mammalian counterparts by the presence of a threonine at this position. Affinities of AF-DX 116 and 4-DAMP, as well as the allosteric potency of UH-AH 37, were not sensitive to the M(2)(401) ala --> thr mutation.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel