Fourier transform coupled tryptophan scanning mutagenesis identifies a bending point on the lipid-exposed δM3 transmembrane domain of the Torpedo californica nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

Channels (Austin). Jul-Aug 2011;5(4):345-56. doi: 10.4161/chan.5.4.17082. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Abstract

The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is a member of a family of ligand-gated ion channels that mediate diverse physiological functions, including fast synaptic transmission along the peripheral and central nervous systems. Several studies have made significant advances toward determining the structure and dynamics of the lipid-exposed domains of the nAChR. However, a high-resolution atomic structure of the nAChR still remains elusive. In this study, we extended the Fourier transform coupled tryptophan scanning mutagenesis (FT-TrpScanM) approach to gain insight into the secondary structure of the δM3 transmembrane domain of the Torpedo californica nAChR, to monitor conformational changes experienced by this domain during channel gating, and to identify which lipid-exposed positions are linked to the regulation of ion channel kinetics. The perturbations produced by periodic tryptophan substitutions along the δM3 transmembrane domain were characterized by two-electrode voltage clamp and (125)I-labeled α-bungarotoxin binding assays. The periodicity profiles and Fourier transform spectra of this domain revealed similar helical structures for the closed- and open-channel states. However, changes in the oscillation patterns observed between positions Val-299 and Val-304 during transition between the closed- and open-channel states can be explained by the structural effects caused by the presence of a bending point introduced by a Thr-Gly motif at positions 300-301. The changes in periodicity and localization of residues between the closed-and open-channel states could indicate a structural transition between helix types in this segment of the domain. Overall, the data further demonstrate a functional link between the lipid-exposed transmembrane domain and the nAChR gating machinery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Fish Proteins / chemistry*
  • Fish Proteins / genetics
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Mutagenesis
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Torpedo*
  • Xenopus laevis

Substances

  • Fish Proteins
  • Receptors, Nicotinic