The effect of subunit composition of rat brain GABAA receptors on channel function

Neuron. 1990 Nov;5(5):703-11. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(90)90224-4.


Different combinations of cloned rat brain subunit isoforms of the GABAA receptor channel were expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The voltage-clamp technique was then used to measure properties of the GABA-induced membrane currents and to study the effects of various modulators of the GABAA receptor channel (diazepam, DMCM, pentobarbital, and picrotoxin). This approach was used to obtain information on the minimal structural requirements for several functional properties of the ion channel. The combination alpha 5 beta 2 gamma 2 was identified as the minimal requirement reproducing consensus properties of the vertebrate GABAA receptor channel, including cooperativity of GABA-dependent channel gating with a Ka in the range of 10 microM, modulation by various drugs acting at the benzodiazepine binding site, picrotoxin sensitivity, and barbiturate effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzodiazepines / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbolines / pharmacology
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Ion Channel Gating
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Pentobarbital / pharmacology
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism*
  • Xenopus
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • Carbolines
  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Picrotoxin
  • Benzodiazepines
  • methyl 6,7-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate
  • Dactinomycin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Pentobarbital
  • Diazepam