An open-channel blocker interacts with adjacent turns of alpha-helices in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

Neuron. 1990 Jan;4(1):87-95. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(90)90445-l.


The binding site for an open-channel blocker, QX-222, at mouse muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors was probed using site-directed mutagenesis, oocyte expression, and electrophysiological analysis. The proposed cytoplasmic end of the M2 transmembrane helix is termed position 1'. At position 10' (alpha S252, beta T263, gamma A261, delta A266), Ala residues yield stronger and longer binding of QX-222 than Ser or Thr residues. These effects are opposite and roughly equal (30%-50% per mutation) to previously reported effects at position 6'. The polar end of an anesthetic molecule seems to bind to the position 6' OH groups, which provide a water-like region; the nonpolar moiety is near position 10' and binds more strongly in a nonpolar environment. Interactions with adjacent OH-rich turns of an amphiphilic helix may explain the widespread blocking effects of local anesthetics at the conduction pore of ion channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Lidocaine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lidocaine / metabolism
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oocytes
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects*


  • Amino Acids
  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • QX-222
  • Lidocaine