The atypical M2 segment of the beta subunit confers picrotoxinin resistance to inhibitory glycine receptor channels

EMBO J. 1992 Dec;11(12):4305-11.


Purified preparations of the inhibitory glycine receptor (GlyR) contain alpha and beta subunits, which share homologous primary structures and a common transmembrane topology with other members of the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily. Here, a beta subunit-specific antiserum was shown to precipitate the [3H]strychnine binding sites localized on alpha subunits from membrane extracts of both rat spinal cord and mammalian cells co-transfected with alpha and beta cDNAs. Further, inhibition of alpha homo-oligomeric GlyRs by picrotoxinin, a non-competitive blocker of ion flow, was reduced 50- to 200-fold for alpha/beta hetero-oligomeric receptors generated by cotransfection. Site-directed mutagenesis identified residues within the second predicted transmembrane segment (M2) of the beta subunit as major determinants of picrotoxinin resistance. These data implicate the M2 segment in blocker binding to and lining of the GlyR chloride channel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / drug effects*
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Picrotoxin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / genetics
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Strychnine / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Picrotoxin
  • DNA
  • picrotoxinin
  • Strychnine
  • Glycine