[(3)H]chlorpromazine photolabeling of the torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor identifies two state-dependent binding sites in the ion channel

Biochemistry. 2009 Oct 27;48(42):10066-77. doi: 10.1021/bi901271w.


Chlorpromazine (CPZ), a potent nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) noncompetitive antagonist, binds with higher affinity in the ion channel in the desensitized state than in the closed channel state and with low affinity to additional sites in nAChR-rich membranes. For nAChR equilibrated with agonist, we confirm previous reports that [(3)H]CPZ occupies a site near the cytoplasmic end of the M2 ion channel domain, photolabeling positions M2-2, M2-6, and/or M2-9 in each subunit. We find that [(3)H]CPZ also binds at the extracellular end of the channel, photolabeling amino acids at positions M2-16 (alpha,gamma), M2-17 (alpha,beta,delta), and M2-20 (alpha,beta,delta). The photolabeling at the cytoplasmic end of the channel is fully inhibitable by phencyclidine or proadifen, whereas neither drug inhibits [(3)H]CPZ photolabeling at the extracellular end, establishing that positively charged drugs can bind simultaneously at the cytoplasmic and extracellular ends of the ion channel. [(3)H]CPZ photolabeling is not detected in the transmembrane domain outside the ion channel, but it photolabels alphaMet-386 and alphaSer-393 in the cytoplasmic alphaMA helix. In the nAChR equilibrated with alpha-bungarotoxin to stabilize the nAChR in a closed state, [(3)H]CPZ photolabels amino acids at M2-5 (alpha), M2-6 (alpha,beta,delta), and M2-9 (beta,delta), with no labeling at M2-2. These results provide novel information about the modes of drug binding within the nAChR ion channel and indicate that within the nAChR transmembrane domain, the binding of cationic aromatic amine antagonists can be restricted to the ion channel domain, in contrast to the uncharged, allosteric potentiators and inhibitors that also bind within the delta subunit helix bundle and at subunit interfaces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Chlorpromazine / chemistry*
  • Chlorpromazine / metabolism
  • Nicotinic Antagonists / chemistry*
  • Nicotinic Antagonists / metabolism
  • Photoaffinity Labels
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Torpedo / metabolism*


  • Nicotinic Antagonists
  • Photoaffinity Labels
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Chlorpromazine