Cysteine scanning mutagenesis (residues Glu52-Gly96) of the human P2X1 receptor for ATP: mapping agonist binding and channel gating

J Biol Chem. 2011 Aug 19;286(33):29207-17. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.260364. Epub 2011 Jun 20.


P2X receptors are ATP-gated cation channels. The x-ray structure of a P2X4 receptor provided a major advance in understanding the molecular basis of receptor properties. However, how agonists are coordinated, the extent of the binding site, and the contribution of the vestibules in the extracellular domain to ionic permeation have not been addressed. We have used cysteine-scanning mutagenesis to determine the contribution of residues Glu(52)-Gly(96) to human P2X1 receptor properties. ATP potency was reduced for the mutants K68C, K70C, and F92C. The efficacy of the partial agonist BzATP was also reduced for several mutants forming the back of the proposed agonist binding site. Molecular docking in silico of both ATP and BzATP provided models of the agonist binding site consistent with these data. Individual cysteine mutants had no effect or slightly increased antagonism by suramin or pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulfonate. Mutants at the entrance to and lining the upper vestibule were unaffected by cysteine-reactive methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagents, suggesting that it does not contribute to ionic permeation. Mutants that were sensitive to modification by MTS reagents were predominantly found either around the proposed ATP binding pocket or on the strands connecting the binding pocket to the transmembrane region and lining the central vestibule. In particular, ATP sensitivity and currents were increased by a positively charged MTS reagent at the G60C mutant at the interface between the central and extracellular vestibule. This suggests that dilation of the base of the central vestibule contributes to gating of the receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / genetics
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites / physiology
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X1 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X1 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X1 / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X1
  • Adenosine Triphosphate