Structural determinants in phycotoxins and AChBP conferring high affinity binding and nicotinic AChR antagonism.
ABSTRACT: Spirolide and gymnodimine macrocyclic imine phycotoxins belong to an emerging class of chemical agents associated with marine algal blooms and shellfish toxicity. Analysis of 13-desmethyl spirolide C and gymnodimine A by binding and voltage-clamp recordings on muscle-type alpha1(2)betagammadelta and neuronal alpha3beta2 and alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors reveals subnanomolar affinities, potent antagonism, and limited subtype selectivity. Their binding to acetylcholine-binding proteins (AChBP), as soluble receptor surrogates, exhibits picomolar affinities governed by diffusion-limited association and slow dissociation, accounting for apparent irreversibility. Crystal structures of the phycotoxins bound to Aplysia-AChBP ( approximately 2.4A) show toxins neatly imbedded within the nest of ar-omatic side chains contributed by loops C and F on opposing faces of the subunit interface, and which in physiological conditions accommodates acetylcholine. The structures also point to three major features: (i) the sequence-conserved loop C envelops the bound toxins to maximize surface complementarity; (ii) hydrogen bonding of the protonated imine nitrogen in the toxins with the carbonyl oxygen of loop C Trp147 tethers the toxin core centered within the pocket; and (iii) the spirolide bis-spiroacetal or gymnodimine tetrahydrofuran and their common cyclohexene-butyrolactone further anchor the toxins in apical and membrane directions, along the subunit interface. In contrast, the se-quence-variable loop F only sparingly contributes contact points to preserve the broad receptor subtype recognition unique to phycotoxins compared with other nicotinic antagonists. These data offer unique means for detecting spiroimine toxins in shellfish and identify distinctive ligands, functional determinants and binding regions for the design of new drugs able to target several receptor subtypes with high affinity.
Project description:Pinnatoxins are macrocyclic imine phycotoxins associated with algal blooms and shellfish toxicity. Functional analysis of pinnatoxin A and pinnatoxin G by binding and voltage-clamp electrophysiology on membrane-embedded neuronal ?7, ?4?2, ?3?2, and muscle-type ?12??? nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) reveals high-affinity binding and potent antagonism for the ?7 and ?12??? subtypes. The toxins also bind to the nAChR surrogate, acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP), with low Kd values reflecting slow dissociation. Crystal structures of pinnatoxin-AChBP complexes (1.9-2.2 Å resolution) show the multiple anchoring points of the hydrophobic portion, the cyclic imine, and the substituted bis-spiroketal and cyclohexene ring systems of the pinnatoxins that dictate tight binding between the opposing loops C and F at the receptor subunit interface, as observed for the 13-desmethyl-spirolide C and gymnodimine A congeners. Uniquely, however, the bulky bridged EF-ketal ring specific to the pinnatoxins extends radially from the interfacial-binding pocket to interact with the sequence-variable loop F and govern nAChR subtype selectivity and central neurotoxicity.
Project description:We present an overview of the toxicological profile of the fast-acting, lipophilic macrocyclic imine toxins, an emerging family of organic compounds associated with algal blooms, shellfish contamination and neurotoxicity. Worldwide, shellfish contamination incidents are expanding; therefore, the significance of these toxins for the shellfish food industry deserves further study. Emphasis is directed to the dinoflagellate species involved in their production, their chemical structures, and their specific mode of interaction with their principal natural molecular targets, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, or with the soluble acetylcholine-binding protein, used as a surrogate receptor model. The dinoflagellates Karenia selliformis and Alexandrium ostenfeldii / A. peruvianum have been implicated in the biosynthesis of gymnodimines and spirolides, while Vulcanodinium rugosum is the producer of pinnatoxins and portimine. The cyclic imine toxins are characterized by a macrocyclic skeleton comprising 14-27 carbon atoms, flanked by two conserved moieties, the cyclic imine and the spiroketal ring system. These phycotoxins generally display high affinity and broad specificity for the muscle type and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, a feature consistent with their binding site at the receptor subunit interfaces, composed of residues highly conserved among all nAChRs, and explaining the diverse toxicity among animal species. This is an article for the special issue XVth International Symposium on Cholinergic Mechanisms.
Project description:Pinnatoxins (PnTXs) A-H constitute an emerging family belonging to the cyclic imine group of phycotoxins. Interest has been focused on these fast-acting and highly-potent toxins because they are widely found in contaminated shellfish. Despite their highly complex molecular structure, PnTXs have been chemically synthetized and demonstrated to act on various nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes. In the present work, PnTX-A, PnTX-G and analogue, obtained by chemical synthesis with a high degree of purity (>98%), have been studied in vivo and in vitro on adult mouse and isolated nerve-muscle preparations expressing the mature muscle-type (α1)2β1δε nAChR. The results show that PnTX-A and G acted on the neuromuscular system of anesthetized mice and blocked the compound muscle action potential (CMAP) in a dose- and time-dependent manner, using a minimally invasive electrophysiological method. The CMAP block produced by both toxins in vivo was reversible within 6-8 h. PnTX-A and G, applied to isolated extensor digitorum longus nerve-muscle preparations, blocked reversibly isometric twitches evoked by nerve stimulation. The action of PnTX-A was reversed by 3,4-diaminopyridine. Both toxins exerted no direct action on muscle fibers, as revealed by direct muscle stimulation. PnTX-A and G blocked synaptic transmission at mouse neuromuscular junctions and PnTX-A amino ketone analogue (containing an open form of the imine ring) had no effect on neuromuscular transmission. These results indicate the importance of the cyclic imine for interacting with the adult mammalian muscle-type nAChR. Modeling and docking studies revealed molecular determinants responsible for the interaction of PnTXs with the muscle-type nAChR.
Project description:Rapid neurotransmission is mediated through a superfamily of Cys-loop receptors that includes the nicotinic acetylcholine (nAChR), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A)), serotonin (5-HT(3)) and glycine receptors. A class of ligands, including galanthamine, local anesthetics and certain toxins, interact with nAChRs non-competitively. Suggested modes of action include blockade of the ion channel, modulation from undefined extracellular sites, stabilization of desensitized states, and association with annular or boundary lipid. Alignment of mammalian Cys-loop receptors shows aromatic residues, found in the acetylcholine or ligand-binding pocket of nAChRs, are conserved in all subunit interfaces of neuronal nAChRs, including those that are not formed by alpha subunits on the principal side of the transmitter binding site. The amino-terminal domain containing the ligand recognition site is homologous to the soluble acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP) from mollusks, an established structural and functional surrogate. We assess ligand specificity and employ X-ray crystallography with AChBP to demonstrate ligand interactions at subunit interfaces lacking vicinal cysteines (i.e. the non-alpha subunit interfaces in nAChRs). Non-competitive nicotinic ligands bind AChBP with high affinity (K(d) 0.015-6 microM). We mutated the vicinal cysteine residues in loop C of AChBP to mimic the non-alpha subunit interfaces of neuronal nAChRs and other Cys loop receptors. Classical nicotinic agonists show a 10-40-fold reduction in binding affinity, whereas binding of ligands known to be non-competitive are not affected. X-ray structures of cocaine and galanthamine bound to AChBP (1.8 A and 2.9 A resolution, respectively) reveal interactions deep within the subunit interface and the absence of a contact surface with the tip of loop C. Hence, in addition to channel blocking, non-competitive interactions with heteromeric neuronal nAChR appear to occur at the non-alpha subunit interface, a site presumed to be similar to that of modulating benzodiazepines on GABA(A) receptors.
Project description:Cyclic imine neurotoxins constitute an emergent family of neurotoxins of dinoflagellate origin that are potent antagonists of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. We developed a target-directed functional method based on the mechanism of action of competitive agonists/antagonists of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors for the detection of marine cyclic imine neurotoxins. The key step for method development was the immobilization of Torpedo electrocyte membranes rich in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on the surface of microplate wells and the use of biotinylated-?-bungarotoxin as tracer. Cyclic imine neurotoxins competitively inhibit biotinylated-?-bungarotoxin binding to Torpedo-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in a concentration-dependent manner. The microplate-receptor binding assay allowed rapid detection of nanomolar concentrations of cyclic imine neurotoxins directly in shellfish samples. Although highly sensitive and specific for the detection of neurotoxins targeting nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as a class, the receptor binding assay cannot identify a given analyte. To address the low selectivity of the microplate-receptor binding assay, the cyclic imine neurotoxins tightly bound to the coated Torpedo nicotinic receptor were eluted with methanol, and the chemical nature of the eluted ligands was identified by mass spectrometry. The immobilization of Torpedo electrocyte membranes on the surface of microplate wells proved to be a high-throughput format for the survey of neurotoxins targeting nicotinic acetylcholine receptors directly in shellfish matrixes with high sensitivity and reproducibility.
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels that belong to the Cys-loop receptor superfamily. These receptors are allosteric proteins that exist in different conformational states, including resting (closed), activated (open), and desensitized (closed) states. The acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) is a structural homologue of the extracellular ligand-binding domain of nAChRs. In previous studies, the degree of the C-loop radial extension of AChBP has been assigned to different conformational states of nAChRs. It has been suggested that a closed C-loop is preferred for the active conformation of nAChRs in complex with agonists whereas an open C-loop reflects an antagonist-bound (closed) state. In this work, we have determined the crystal structure of AChBP from the water snail Lymnaea stagnalis (Ls) in complex with dihydro-?-erythroidine (DH?E), which is a potent competitive antagonist of nAChRs. The structure reveals that binding of DH?E to AChBP imposes closure of the C-loop as agonists, but also a shift perpendicular to previously observed C-loop movements. These observations suggest that DH?E may antagonize the receptor via a different mechanism compared to prototypical antagonists and toxins.
Project description:The cyclic imine toxin 20-methyl spirolide G (20-meSPX-G), produced by the toxigenic dinoflagellate Alexandrium ostenfeldii/Alexandrium peruvianum, has been previously reported to contaminate shellfish in various European coastal locations, as revealed by mouse toxicity bioassay. The aim of the present study was to determine its toxicological profile and its molecular target selectivity. 20-meSPX-G blocked nerve-evoked isometric contractions in isolated mouse neuromuscular preparations, while it had no action on contractions elicited by direct electrical stimulation, and reduced reversibly nerve-evoked compound muscle action potential amplitudes in anesthetized mice. Voltage-clamp recordings in Xenopus oocytes revealed that 20-meSPX-G potently inhibited currents evoked by ACh on Torpedo muscle-type and human ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), whereas lower potency was observed in human ?4?2 nAChR. Competition-binding assays showed that 20-meSPX-G fully displaced [³H]epibatidine binding to HEK-293 cells expressing the human ?3?2 (Ki = 0.040 nM), whereas a 90-fold lower affinity was detected in human ?4?2 nAChR. The spirolide displaced [(125)I]?-bungarotoxin binding to Torpedo membranes (Ki = 0.028 nM) and in HEK-293 cells expressing chick chimeric ?7-5HT? nAChR (Ki = 0.11 nM). In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate that 20-meSPX-G is a potent antagonist of nAChRs, and its subtype selectivity is discussed on the basis of molecular docking models.
Project description:Pinnatoxins belong to an emerging class of potent marine toxins of the cyclic imine group. Detailed studies of their biological effects have been impeded by unavailability of the complex natural product from natural sources. This work describes the development of a robust, scalable synthetic sequence relying on a convergent strategy that delivered a sufficient amount of the toxin for detailed biological studies and its commercialization for use by other research groups and regulatory agencies. A central transformation in the synthesis is the highly diastereoselective Ireland-Claisen rearrangement of a complex ?,?-disubstituted allylic ester based on a unique mode for stereoselective enolization through a chirality match between the substrate and the lithium amide base. With synthetic pinnatoxin A, a detailed study has been performed that provides conclusive evidence for its mode of action as a potent inhibitor of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors selective for the human neuronal ?7 subtype. The comprehensive electrophysiological, biochemical, and computational studies support the view that the spiroimine subunit of pinnatoxins is critical for blocking nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes, as evidenced by analyzing the effect of a synthetic analogue of pinnatoxin A containing an open form of the imine ring. Our studies have paved the way for the production of certified standards to be used for mass-spectrometric determination of these toxins in marine matrices and for the development of tests to detect these toxins in contaminated shellfish.
Project description:Upon ligand binding at the subunit interfaces, the extracellular domain of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor undergoes conformational changes, and agonist binding allosterically triggers opening of the ion channel. The soluble acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP) from snail has been shown to be a structural and functional surrogate of the ligand-binding domain (LBD) of the receptor. Yet, individual AChBP species display disparate affinities for nicotinic ligands. The crystal structure of AChBP from Aplysia californica in the apo form reveals a more open loop C and distinctive positions for other surface loops, compared with previous structures. Analysis of Aplysia AChBP complexes with nicotinic ligands shows that loop C, which does not significantly change conformation upon binding of the antagonist, methyllycaconitine, further opens to accommodate the peptidic antagonist, alpha-conotoxin ImI, but wraps around the agonists lobeline and epibatidine. The structures also reveal extended and nonoverlapping interaction surfaces for the two antagonists, outside the binding loci for agonists. This comprehensive set of structures reflects a dynamic template for delineating further conformational changes of the LBD of the nicotinic receptor.
Project description:Prorocentrolides are members of the cyclic imine phycotoxins family. Their chemical structure includes a 26-membered carbo-macrocycle and a 28-membered macrocyclic lactone arranged around a hexahydroisoquinoline that incorporates the characteristic cyclic imine group. Six prorocentrolides are already known. However, their mode of action remains undetermined. The aim of the present work was to explore whether prorocentrolide A acts on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), using competition-binding assays and electrophysiological techniques. Prorocentrolide-A displaced [125I]?-bungarotoxin binding to Torpedo membranes, expressing the muscle-type (?1??1??) nAChR, and in HEK-293 cells, expressing the chimeric chick neuronal ?7-5HT? nAChR. Functional studies revealed that prorocentrolide-A had no agonist action on nAChRs, but inhibited ACh-induced currents in Xenopus oocytes that had incorporated the muscle-type ?1??1?? nAChR to their membranes, or that expressed the human ?7 nAChR, as revealed by voltage-clamp recordings. Molecular docking calculations showed the absence of the characteristic hydrogen bond between the iminium group of prorocentrolide-A and the backbone carbonyl group of Trp147 in the receptor, explaining its weaker affinity as compared to all other cyclic imine toxins. In conclusion, this is the first study to show that prorocentrolide-A acts on both muscle and neuronal nAChRs, but with higher affinity on the muscle-type nAChR.