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J Biol Chem February 14, 2014; 289 (7): 4515-31.

The activity of GAT107, an allosteric activator and positive modulator of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), is regulated by aromatic amino acids that span the subunit interface.

Papke RL , Horenstein NA , Kulkarni AR , Stokes C , Corrie LW , Maeng CY , Thakur GA .

GAT107, the (+)-enantiomer of racemic 4-(4-bromophenyl)-3a,4,5,9b-tetrahydro-3H-cyclopenta[c]quinoline-8-sulfonamide, is a strong positive allosteric modulator (PAM) of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) activation by orthosteric agonists with intrinsic allosteric agonist activities. The direct activation produced by GAT107 in electrophysiological studies is observed only as long as GAT107 is freely diffusible in solution, although the potentiating activity primed by GAT107 can persist for over 30 min after drug washout. Direct activation is sensitive to α7 nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine, although the primed potentiation is not. The data are consistent with GAT107 activity arising from two different sites. We show that the coupling between PAMs and the binding of orthosteric ligands requires tryptophan 55 (Trp-55), which is located at the subunit interface on the complementary surface of the orthosteric binding site. Mutations of Trp-55 increase the direct activation produced by GAT107 and reduce or prevent the synergy between allosteric and orthosteric binding sites, so that these mutants can also be directly activated by other PAMs such as PNU-120596 and TQS, which do not activate wild-type α7 in the absence of orthosteric agonists. We identify Tyr-93 as an essential element for orthosteric activation, because Y93C mutants are insensitive to orthosteric agonists but respond to GAT107. Our data show that both orthosteric and allosteric activation of α7 nAChR require cooperative activity at the interface between the subunits in the extracellular domain. These cooperative effects rely on key aromatic residues, and although mutations of Trp-55 reduce the restraints placed on the requirement for orthosteric agonists, Tyr-93 can conduct both orthosteric activation and desensitization among the subunits.

PubMed ID: 24362025
PMC ID: PMC3924313
Article link: J Biol Chem
Grant support: [+]
Genes referenced: chrna4

References [+] :
Akk, Aromatics at the murine nicotinic receptor agonist binding site: mutational analysis of the alphaY93 and alphaW149 residues. 2001, Pubmed

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