Photolabeling of membrane-bound Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor with the hydrophobic probe 3-trifluoromethyl-3-(m-[125I]iodophenyl)diazirine

Biochemistry. 1988 Nov 29;27(24):8741-51. doi: 10.1021/bi00424a009.


The hydrophobic, photoactivatable probe 3-trifluoromethyl-3-(m-[125I]iodophenyl)diazirine ([125I]TID) was used to label acetylcholine receptor rich membranes purified from Torpedo californica electric organ. All four subunits of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) were found to incorporate label, with the gamma-subunit incorporating approximately 4 times as much as each of the other subunits. Carbamylcholine, an agonist, and histrionicotoxin, a noncompetitive antagonist, both strongly inhibited labeling of all AChR subunits in a specific and dose-dependent manner. In contrast, the competitive antagonist alpha-bungarotoxin and the noncompetitive antagonist phencyclidine had only modest effects on [125I]TID labeling of the AChR. The regions of the AChR alpha-subunit that incorporate [125I]TID were mapped by Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease digestion. The carbamylcholine-sensitive site of labeling was localized to a 20-kDa V8 cleavage fragment that begins at Ser-173 and is of sufficient length to contain the three hydrophobic regions M1, M2, and M3. A 10-kDa fragment beginning at Asn-339 and containing the hydrophobic region M4 also incorporated [125I]TID but in a carbamylcholine-insensitive manner. Two further cleavage fragments, which together span about one-third of the alpha-subunit amino terminus, incorporated no detectable [125I]TID. The mapping results place constraints on suggested models of AChR subunit topology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Azirines / metabolism*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Electric Organ / metabolism
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / analysis
  • Photochemistry
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / isolation & purification
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Torpedo


  • Amino Acids
  • Azirines
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • 3-(trifluoromethyl)-3-(3-iodophenyl)diazirine