Muscle-like nicotinic receptor accessory molecules in sensory hair cells of the inner ear.
ABSTRACT: Nothing is known about the regulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in hair cells of the inner ear. MuSK, rapsyn and RIC-3 are accessory molecules associated with muscle and brain nAChR function. We demonstrate that these accessory molecules are expressed in the inner ear raising the possibility of a muscle-like mechanism for clustering and assembly of nAChRs in hair cells. We focused our investigations on rapsyn and RIC-3. Rapsyn interacts with the cytoplasmic loop of nAChR alpha9 subunits but not nAChR alpha10 subunits. Although rapsyn and RIC-3 increase nAChR alpha9 expression, rapsyn plays a greater role in receptor clustering while RIC-3 is important for acetylcholine-induced calcium responses. Our data suggest that RIC-3 facilitates receptor function, while rapsyn enhances receptor clustering at the cell surface.
Project description:We report the cloning and characterization of rat alpha10, a previously unidentified member of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit gene family. The protein encoded by the alpha10 nAChR subunit gene is most similar to the rat alpha9 nAChR, and both alpha9 and alpha10 subunit genes are transcribed in adult rat mechanosensory hair cells. Injection of Xenopus laevis oocytes with alpha10 cRNA alone or in pairwise combinations with either alpha2-alpha6 or beta2-beta4 subunit cRNAs yielded no detectable ACh-gated currents. However, coinjection of alpha9 and alpha10 cRNAs resulted in the appearance of an unusual nAChR subtype. Compared with homomeric alpha9 channels, the alpha9alpha10 nAChR subtype displays faster and more extensive agonist-mediated desensitization, a distinct current-voltage relationship, and a biphasic response to changes in extracellular Ca(2+) ions. The pharmacological profiles of homomeric alpha9 and heteromeric alpha9alpha10 nAChRs are essentially indistinguishable and closely resemble those reported for endogenous cholinergic eceptors found in vertebrate hair cells. Our data suggest that efferent modulation of hair cell function occurs, at least in part, through heteromeric nAChRs assembled from both alpha9 and alpha10 subunits.
Project description:Although homomeric channels assembled from the alpha9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit are functional in vitro, electrophysiological, anatomical, and molecular data suggest that native cholinergic olivocochlear function is mediated via heteromeric nAChRs composed of both alpha9 and alpha10 subunits. To gain insight into alpha10 subunit function in vivo, we examined olivo cochlear innervation and function in alpha10 null-mutant mice. Electrophysiological recordings from postnatal (P) days P8-9 inner hair cells revealed ACh-gated currents in alpha10(+/+) and alpha10(+/-) mice, with no detectable responses to ACh in alpha10(-/-) mice. In contrast, a proportion of alpha10(-/-) outer hair cells showed small ACh-evoked currents. In alpha10(-/-) mutant mice, olivocochlear fiber stimulation failed to suppress distortion products, suggesting that the residual alpha9 homomeric nAChRs expressed by outer hair cells are unable to transduce efferent signals in vivo. Finally, alpha10(-/-) mice exhibit both an abnormal olivocochlear morphology and innervation to outer hair cells and a highly disorganized efferent innervation to the inner hair cell region. Our results demonstrate that alpha9(-/-) and alpha10(-/-) mice have overlapping but nonidentical phenotypes. Moreover, alpha10 nAChR subunits are required for normal olivocochlear activity because alpha9 homomeric nAChRs do not support maintenance of normal olivocochlear innervation or function in alpha10(-/-) mutant mice.
Project description:RIC-3 is a transmembrane protein which acts as a molecular chaperone of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). For some nAChR subtypes (such as homomeric alpha7 neuronal nAChRs), RIC-3 is required for efficient receptor folding, assembly and functional expression. In contrast, for other nAChR subtypes (such as heteromeric alpha4beta2 neuronal nAChRs) there have been reports that RIC-3 can both enhance and reduce levels of functional expression. There is also evidence that RIC-3 can modulate maturation of the closely related 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor (5-HT(3)R). As with heteromeric nAChRs, apparently contradictory results have been reported for the influence of RIC-3 on 5-HT(3)R maturation in different expression systems. Recent evidence indicates that these differences in RIC-3 chaperone activity may be influenced by the host cell, suggesting that other proteins may play an important role in modulating the effects of RIC-3 as a chaperone. RIC-3 was originally identified in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as the protein encoded by the gene ric-3 (resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase) and has subsequently been cloned and characterized from mammalian and insect species. This review provides a brief history of RIC-3; from the identification of the ric-3 gene in C. elegans in 1995 to the more recent demonstration of its activity as a nAChR chaperone.
Project description:The ?7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (?7-nAChR) is a ligand-gated ion channel widely expressed in vertebrates and is associated with numerous physiological functions. As transmembrane ion channels, ?7-nAChRs need to be expressed on the surface of the plasma membrane to function. The receptor has been reported to associate with proteins involved with receptor biogenesis, modulation of receptor properties, as well as intracellular signaling cascades and some of these associated proteins may affect surface expression of ?7-nAChRs. The putative chaperone resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase 3 (Ric-3) has been reported to interact with, and enhance the surface expression of, ?7-nAChRs. In this study, we identified proteins that associate with ?7-nAChRs when Ric-3 is expressed. Using ?-bungarotoxin (?-bgtx), we isolated and compared ?7-nAChR-associated proteins from two stably transfected, human tumor-derived cell lines: SH-EP1-h?7 expressing human ?7-nAChRs and the same cell line further transfected to express Ric-3, SH-EP1-h?7-Ric-3. Mass spectrometric analysis of peptides identified thirty-nine proteins that are associated with ?7-nAChRs only when Ric-3 was expressed. Significantly, and consistent with reports of Ric-3 function in the literature, several of the identified proteins are involved in biological processes that may affect nAChR surface expression such as post-translational processing of proteins, protein trafficking, and protein transport. Additionally, proteins affecting the cell cycle, the cytoskeleton, stress responses, as well as cyclic AMP- and inositol triphosphate-dependent signaling cascades were identified. These results illuminate how ?-bgtx may be used to isolate and identify ?7-nAChRs as well as how the expression of chaperones such as Ric-3 can influence proteins associating with ?7-nAChRs. These associating proteins may alter activities of ?7-nAChRs to expand their functionally-relevant repertoire as well as to affect biogenesis and membrane trafficking of ?7-nAChRs.
Project description:The alpha7* (*denotes the possible presence of additional subunits) nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtype is widely expressed in the vertebrate nervous system and implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders that compromise thought and cognition. In this report, we demonstrate that the recently developed fluorescent ligand Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] labels alpha7 nAChRs in cultured hippocampal neurons. However, photobleaching of this ligand during long image acquisition times prompted us to develop a new derivative. In photostability studies, this new ligand, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A], was significantly more resistant to bleaching than the Cy3 derivative. The classic alpha7 ligand alpha-bungarotoxin binds to alpha1* and alpha9* nAChRs. In contrast, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] potently (IC(50) 1.8 nM) and selectively blocked alpha7 nAChRs but not alpha1* or alpha9* nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Selectivity was further confirmed by competition binding studies of native nAChRs in rat brain membranes. The fluorescence properties of Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] were assessed using human embryonic kidney-293 cells stably transfected with nAChRs; labeling was observed on cells expressing alpha7 but not cells expressing alpha3beta2, alpha3beta4, or alpha4beta2 nAChRs. Further imaging studies demonstrate that Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] labels hippocampal neurons from wild-type mice but not from nAChR alpha7 subunit-null mice. Thus, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] represents a potent and selective ligand for imaging alpha7 nAChRs.
Project description:Ticks and tick-borne diseases have a major impact on human and animal health worldwide. Current control strategies rely heavily on the use of chemical acaricides, most of which target the CNS and with increasing resistance, new drugs are urgently needed. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are targets of highly successful insecticides. We isolated a full-length nAChR ? subunit from a normalised cDNA library from the synganglion (brain) of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Phylogenetic analysis has shown this R. sanguineus nAChR to be most similar to the insect ?1 nAChR group and has been named Rsan?1. Rsan?1 is distributed in multiple tick tissues and is present across all life-stages. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes Rsan?1 failed to function as a homomer, with and without the addition of either Caenorhabditis elegans resistance-to-cholinesterase (RIC)-3 or X. laevis RIC-3. When co-expressed with chicken ?2 nAChR, Rsan?1 evoked concentration-dependent, inward currents in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and showed sensitivity to nicotine (100 ?M) and choline (100 ?M). Rsan?1/?2 was insensitive to both imidacloprid (100 ?M) and spinosad (100 ?M). The unreliable expression of Rsan?1 in vitro suggests that additional subunits or chaperone proteins may be required for more robust expression. This study enhances our understanding of nAChRs in arachnids and may provide a basis for further studies on the interaction of compounds with the tick nAChR as part of a discovery process for novel acaricides.
Project description:In turtle posterior cristae, cholinergic vestibular efferent neurons (VENs) synapse on type II hair cells, bouton afferents innervating type II hair cells, and afferent calyces innervating type I hair cells. Electrical stimulation of VENs releases acetylcholine (ACh) at these synapses to exert diverse effects on afferent background discharge including rapid inhibition of bouton afferents and excitation of calyx-bearing afferents. Efferent-mediated inhibition is most pronounced in bouton afferents innervating type II hair cells near the torus, but becomes progressively smaller and briefer when moving longitudinally through the crista toward afferents innervating the planum. Sharp-electrode recordings have inferred that efferent-mediated inhibition of bouton afferents requires the sequential activation of alpha9-containing nicotinic ACh receptors (?9*nAChRs) and small-conductance, calcium-dependent potassium channels (SK) in type II hair cells. Gradations in the strength of efferent-mediated inhibition across the crista likely reflect variations in ?9*nAChRs and/or SK activation in type II hair cells from those different regions. However, in turtle cristae, neither inference has been confirmed with direct recordings from type II hair cells. To address these gaps, we performed whole-cell, patch-clamp recordings from type II hair cells within a split-epithelial preparation of the turtle posterior crista. Here, we can easily visualize and record hair cells while maintaining their native location within the neuroepithelium. Consistent with ?9*nAChR/SK activation, ACh-sensitive currents in type II hair cells were inward at hyperpolarizing potentials but reversed near -90 mV to produce outward currents that typically peaked around -20 mV. ACh-sensitive currents were largest in torus hair cells but absent from hair cells near the planum. In current clamp recordings under zero-current conditions, ACh robustly hyperpolarized type II hair cells. ACh-sensitive responses were reversibly blocked by the ?9nAChR antagonists ICS, strychnine, and methyllycaconitine as well as the SK antagonists apamin and UCL1684. Intact efferent terminals in the split-epithelial preparation spontaneously released ACh that also activated ?9*nAChRs/SK in type II hair cells. These release events were accelerated with high-potassium external solution and all events were blocked by strychnine, ICS, methyllycaconitine, and apamin. These findings provide direct evidence that activation of ?9*nAChR/SK in turtle type II hair cells underlies efferent-mediated inhibition of bouton afferents.
Project description:Elucidation of the structural basis of pharmacological differences for highly homologous ?7 and ?9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) may shed light on their involvement in different physiological functions and diseases. Combination of site-directed mutagenesis and electrophysiology is a powerful tool to pinpoint the key amino-acid residues in the receptor ligand-binding site, but for ?7 and ?9 nAChRs it is complicated by their poor expression and fast desensitization. Here, we probed the ligand-binding properties of ?7/?9 nAChR mutants by a proposed simple and fast calcium imaging method. The method is based on transient co-expression of ?7/?9 nAChR mutants in neuroblastoma cells together with Ric-3 or NACHO chaperones and Case12 fluorescent calcium ion sensor followed by analysis of their pharmacology using a fluorescence microscope or a fluorometric imaging plate reader (FLIPR) with a GFP filter set. The results obtained were confirmed by electrophysiology and by calcium imaging with the conventional calcium indicator Fluo-4. The affinities for acetylcholine and epibatidine were determined for human and rat ?7 nAChRs, and for their mutants with homologous residues of ?9 nAChR incorporated at positions 117-119, 184, 185, 187, and 189, which are anticipated to be involved in ligand binding. The strongest decrease in the affinity was observed for mutations at positions 187 and 119. The L119D mutation of ?7 nAChR, showing a larger effect for epibatidine than for acetylcholine, may implicate this position in pharmacological differences between ?7 and ?9 nAChRs.
Project description:The expansion and pruning of ion channel families has played a crucial role in the evolution of nervous systems. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated ion channels with distinct roles in synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction, the central and peripheral nervous system, and the inner ear. Remarkably, the complement of nAChR subunits has been highly conserved along vertebrate phylogeny. To ask whether the different subtypes of receptors underwent different evolutionary trajectories, we performed a comprehensive analysis of vertebrate nAChRs coding sequences, mouse single-cell expression patterns, and comparative functional properties of receptors from three representative tetrapod species. We found significant differences between hair cell and neuronal receptors that were most likely shaped by the differences in coexpression patterns and coassembly rules of component subunits. Thus, neuronal nAChRs showed high degree of coding sequence conservation, coupled to greater coexpression variance and conservation of functional properties across tetrapod clades. In contrast, hair cell ?9?10 nAChRs exhibited greater sequence divergence, narrow coexpression pattern, and great variability of functional properties across species. These results point to differential substrates for random change within the family of gene paralogs that relate to the segregated roles of nAChRs in synaptic transmission.
Project description:Cochlear hair cells use SK2 currents to shape responses to cholinergic efferent feedback from the brain. Using SK2(-/-) mice, we demonstrate that, in addition to their previously defined role in modulating hair cell membrane potentials, SK2 channels are necessary for long-term survival of olivocochlear fibers and synapses. Loss of the SK2 gene also results in loss of electrically driven olivocochlear effects in vivo, and down regulation of ryanodine receptors involved in calcium-induced calcium release, the main inducer of nAChR evoked SK2 activity. Generation of double-null mice lacking both the alpha10 nAChR gene, loss of which results in hypertrophied olivocochlear terminals, and the SK2 gene, recapitulates the SK2(-/-) synaptic phenotype and gene expression, and also leads to down regulation of alpha9 nAChR gene expression. The data suggest a hierarchy of activity necessary to maintain early olivocochlear synapses at their targets, with SK2 serving an epistatic, upstream, role to the nAChRs.