Atypical alpha-conotoxin LtIA from Conus litteratus targets a novel microsite of the alpha3beta2 nicotinic receptor.
ABSTRACT: Different nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes are implicated in learning, pain sensation, and disease states, including Parkinson disease and nicotine addiction. alpha-Conotoxins are among the most selective nAChR ligands. Mechanistic insights into the structure, function, and receptor interaction of alpha-conotoxins may serve as a platform for development of new therapies. Previously characterized alpha-conotoxins have a highly conserved Ser-Xaa-Pro motif that is crucial for potent nAChR interaction. This study characterized the novel alpha-conotoxin LtIA, which lacks this highly conserved motif but potently blocked alpha3beta2 nAChRs with a 9.8 nm IC(50) value. The off-rate of LtIA was rapid relative to Ser-Xaa-Pro-containing alpha-conotoxin MII. Nevertheless, pre-block of alpha3beta2 nAChRs with LtIA prevented the slowly reversible block associated with MII, suggesting overlap in their binding sites. nAChR beta subunit ligand-binding interface mutations were used to examine the >1000-fold selectivity difference of LtIA for alpha3beta2 versus alpha3beta4 nAChRs. Unlike MII, LtIA had a >900-fold increased IC(50) value on alpha3beta2(F119Q) versus wild type nAChRs, whereas T59K and V111I beta2 mutants had little effect. Molecular docking simulations suggested that LtIA had a surprisingly shallow binding site on the alpha3beta2 nAChR that includes beta2 Lys-79. The K79A mutant disrupted LtIA binding but was without effect on an LtIA analog where the Ser-Xaa-Pro motif is present, consistent with distinct binding modes.
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) containing alpha3 and beta2 subunits are found in autonomic ganglia and mediate ganglionic transmission. The closely related alpha6 nAChR subtype is found in the central nervous system where changes in its level of expression are observed in Parkinson's disease. To obtain a ligand that discriminates between these two receptors, we designed and synthesized a novel analog ofalpha-conotoxin MII, MII[S4A,E11A,L15A], and tested it on nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The peptide blocked chimeric alpha6/alpha3beta2beta3 nAChRs with an IC(50) of 1.2 nm; in contrast, its IC(50) on the closely related alpha3beta2 as well as non-alpha6 nAChRs was three orders of magnitude higher. We identified the residues in the receptors that are responsible for their differential sensitivity to the peptide. We constructed chimeras with increasingly longer fragments of the N-terminal ligand binding domain of the alpha3 subunit inserted into the homologous positions of the alpha6 subunit, and these were used to determine that the region downstream of the first 140 amino acids was involved. Further mutagenesis of this region revealed that the alpha6 subunit residues Glu-152, Asp-184, and Thr-195 were critical, and replacement of these three residues with their homologs from the alpha3 subunit increased the IC(50) of the peptide by >1000-fold. Conversely, when these key residues inalpha3 were replaced with those fromalpha6, the IC(50) decreased by almost 150-fold. Similar effects were seen with other alpha6-selective conotoxins, suggesting the general importance of thesealpha6 residues in conferring selective binding.
Project description:The molluskan acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP) is a homolog of the extracellular binding domain of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel family. AChBP most closely resembles the alpha-subunit of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and in particular the homomeric alpha7 nicotinic receptor. We report the isolation and characterization of an alpha-conotoxin that has the highest known affinity for the Lymnaea AChBP and also potently blocks the alpha7 nAChR subtype when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Remarkably, the peptide also has high affinity for the alpha3beta2 nAChR indicating that alpha-conotoxin OmIA in combination with the AChBP may serve as a model system for understanding the binding determinants of alpha3beta2 nAChRs. alpha-Conotoxin OmIA was purified from the venom of Conus omaria. It is a 17-amino-acid, two-disulfide bridge peptide. The ligand is the first alpha-conotoxin with higher affinity for the closely related receptor subtypes, alpha3beta2 versus alpha6beta2, and selectively blocks these two subtypes when compared with alpha2beta2, alpha4beta2, and alpha1beta1deltaepsilon nAChRs.
Project description:The alpha3 subunit gene was one of the first neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits to be cloned (Boulter et al., 1986), but direct evidence of alpha3 subunit contributions to mammalian central nAChR populations has not been presented. The studies reported here used mice engineered to contain a null mutation in the alpha3 nAChR subunit gene (Xu et al., 1999) to examine the involvement of the alpha3 subunit in central nAChR populations. Heterologously expressed alpha3beta2 and alpha3beta4 nAChRs are pharmacologically similar to native [125I]alpha-conotoxin MII (alpha-CtxMII)-binding and 3-(2(S)-azetidinylmethoxy)pyridine dihydrochloride (A85380)-resistant [125I]epibatidine-binding nAChR subtypes, respectively. The hypothesis that both native sites are alpha3-subtype nAChRs was tested using quantitative autoradiography in alpha3-null mutant mice. Somewhat surprisingly, deletion of the alpha3 nAChR subunit gene did not affect expression of the great majority of [125I]alpha-CtxMII-binding sites, indicating that they do not correspond to heterologously expressed alpha3beta2 nAChRs. The only exception to this was observed in the habenulointerpeduncular tract, where alpha3-dependent [125I]alpha-CtxMII binding was observed. This finding may suggest the presence of an additional, minor nicotinic population in this pathway. In contrast, most -resistant [125I]epibatidine-binding nAChRs were dependent on alpha3 gene expression, suggesting that they do indeed correspond to an alpha3 nAChR subtype. However, widespread but lower levels of alpha3-independent -resistant [125I]epibatidine binding were also seen. Again, this may indicate the existence of an additional, minor population of non-alpha3 -resistant sites.
Project description:Several biochemical mechanisms, including the arachidonic acid cascade and activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), are involved in increased tumor survival. Combined application of inhibitors acting on these two pathways may result in a more pronounced antitumor effect. Here, we show that baicalein (selective 12-lipoxygenase inhibitor), nordihydroguaiaretic acid (non-selective lipoxygenase inhibitor), and indomethacin (non-selective cyclooxygenase inhibitor) are cytotoxic to Ehrlich carcinoma cells in vitro. Marine snail ?-conotoxins PnIA, RgIA and ArIB11L16D, blockers of ?3?2/?6?2, ?9?10 and ?7 nAChR subtypes, respectively, as well as ?-cobratoxin, a blocker of ?7 and muscle subtype nAChRs, exhibit low cytotoxicity, but enhance the antitumor effect of baicalein 1.4-fold after 24 h and that of nordihydroguaiaretic acid 1.8-3.9-fold after 48 h of cell cultivation. ?-Conotoxin MII, a blocker of ?6-containing and ?3?2 nAChR subtypes, increases the cytotoxic effect of indomethacin 1.9-fold after 48 h of cultivation. In vivo, baicalein, ?-conotoxins MII and PnIA inhibit Ehrlich carcinoma growth and increase mouse survival; these effects are greatly enhanced by the combined application of ?-conotoxin MII with indomethacin or conotoxin PnIA with baicalein. Thus, we show, for the first time, antitumor synergism of ?-conotoxins and arachidonic acid cascade inhibitors.
Project description:Nicotinic drug treatment can affect the expression of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) both in vivo and in vitro through molecular mechanisms not fully understood. The present study investigated the effect of the novel cytisine dimer 1,2-bisN-cytisinylethane (CC4) on nAChR natively expressed by SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells in culture. CC4 lacked the agonist properties of cytisine and was a potent antagonist (IC50=220 nM) on nAChRs. Chronic treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with 1 mM CC4 for 48 h increased the expression of 3H-epibatidine (3H-Epi; 3-4-fold) or 125I-alpha-bungarotoxin (125I-alphaBgtx; 1.2-fold) sensitive receptors present on the cell membrane and in the intracellular pool. Comparable data were obtained with nicotine or cytisine, but not with carbamylcholine, d-tubocurarine, di-hydro-beta-erythroidine or hexametonium. Immunoprecipitation and immunopurification studies showed that the increase in 3H-Epi-binding receptors was due to the enhanced expression of alpha3beta2 and alpha3beta2beta4 subtypes without changes in subunit mRNA transcription or receptor half-life. The upregulation was not dependent on agonist/antagonist properties of the drugs, and did not concern muscarinic or serotonin receptors. Whole-cell patch clamp analysis of CC4-treated cells demonstrated larger nicotine-evoked inward currents with augmented sensitivity to the blockers alpha-conotoxin MII or methyllycaconitine. In conclusion, chronic treatment with CC4 increased the number of nAChRs containing beta2 and alpha7 subunits on the plasma membrane, where they were functionally active. In the case of beta2-containing receptors, we propose that CC4, by binding to intracellular receptors, triggered a conformational reorganisation of intracellular subunits that stimulated preferential assembly and membrane-directed trafficking of beta2-containing receptor subtypes..
Project description:Alpha-conotoxins are small disulfide-constrained peptides from cone snails that act as antagonists at specific subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The 13-residue peptide alpha-conotoxin RgIA (alpha-RgIA) is a member of the alpha-4,3 family of alpha-conotoxins and selectively blocks the alpha9alpha10 nAChR subtype, in contrast to another well-characterized member of this family, alpha-conotoxin ImI (alpha-ImI), which is a potent inhibitor of the alpha7 and alpha3beta2 nAChR subtypes. In this study, we have altered side chains in both the four-residue and the three-residue loops of alpha-RgIA, and have modified its C-terminus. The effects of these changes on activity against alpha9alpha10 and alpha7 nAChRs were measured; the solution structures of alpha-RgIA and its Y10W, D5E, and P6V analogues were determined from NMR data; and resonance assignments were made for alpha-RgIA [R9A]. The structures for alpha-RgIA and its three analogues were well defined, except at the chain termini. Comparison of these structures with reported structures of alpha-ImI reveals a common two-loop backbone architecture within the alpha-4,3 family, but with variations in side-chain solvent accessibility and orientation. Asp5, Pro6, and Arg7 in loop 1 are critical for blockade of both the alpha9alpha10 and the alpha7 subtypes. In loop 2, alpha-RgIA [Y10W] had activity near that of wild-type alpha-RgIA, with high potency for alpha9alpha10 and low potency for alpha7, and had a structure similar to that of wild type. By contrast, Arg9 in loop 2 is critical for specific binding to the alpha9alpha10 subtype, probably because it is larger and more solvent accessible than Ala9 in alpha-ImI. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the molecular basis for antagonism of the alpha9alpha10 nAChR subtype, which is a target for the development of analgesics for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain.
Project description:Alpha-conotoxin GIC is a 16-residue peptide isolated from the venom of the cone snail Conus geographus. Alpha-conotoxin GIC potently blocks the alpha3beta2 subtype of human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, showing a high selectivity for neuronal versus muscle subtype [McIntosh, Dowell, Watkins, Garrett, Yoshikami, and Olivera (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 33610-33615]. We have now determined the three-dimensional solution structure of alpha-conotoxin GIC by NMR spectroscopy. The structure of alpha-conotoxin GIC is well defined with backbone and heavy atom root mean square deviations (residues 2-16) of 0.53 A and 0.96 A respectively. Structure and surface comparison of alpha-conotoxin GIC with the other alpha4/7 subfamily conotoxins reveals unique structural aspects of alpha-conotoxin GIC. In particular, the structural comparison between alpha-conotoxins GIC and MII indicates molecular features that may confer their similar receptor specificity profile, as well as those that provide the unique binding characteristics of alpha-conotoxin GIC.
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play a pivotal role in synaptic transmission of neuronal signaling pathways and are fundamentally involved in neuronal disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia. In vertebrates, cholinergic pathways can be selectively inhibited by α-conotoxins; we show that in the model organism Drosophila, the cholinergic component of the giant fiber system is inhibited by α-conotoxins MII, AuIB, BuIA, EI, PeIA, and ImI. The injection of 45 pmol/fly of each toxin dramatically decreases the response of the giant fiber to dorsal longitudinal muscle (GF-DLM) connection to 20 ± 13.9% for MII; 26 ± 13.7% for AuIB, 12 ± 9.9% for BuIA, 30 ± 11.3% for EI, 1 ± 1% for PeIA, and 34 ± 15.4% for ImI. Through bioassay-guided fractionation of the venom of Conus brunneus, we found BruIB, an α-conotoxin that inhibits Drosophila nicotinic receptors but not its vertebrate counterparts. GF-DLM responses decreased to 43.7 ± 8.02% on injection of 45 pmol/fly of BruIB. We manipulated the Dα7 nAChR to mimic the selectivity of its vertebrate counterpart by placing structurally guided point mutations in the conotoxin-binding site. This manipulation rendered vertebrate-like behavior in the Drosophila system, enhancing the suitability of Drosophila as an in vivo tool to carry out studies related to human neuronal diseases. .
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated ion channels that belong to the superfamily of Cys loop receptors. Valuable insight into the orthosteric ligand binding to nAChRs in recent years has been obtained from the crystal structures of acetylcholine-binding proteins (AChBPs) that share significant sequence homology with the amino-terminal domains of the nAChRs. alpha-Conotoxins, which are isolated from the venom of carnivorous marine snails, selectively inhibit the signaling of neuronal nAChR subtypes. Co-crystal structures of alpha-conotoxins in complex with AChBP show that the side chain of a highly conserved proline residue in these toxins is oriented toward the hydrophobic binding pocket in the AChBP but does not have direct interactions with this pocket. In this study, we have designed and synthesized analogues of alpha-conotoxins ImI and PnIA[A10L], by introducing a range of substituents on the Pro(6) residue in these toxins to probe the importance of this residue for their binding to the nAChRs. Pharmacological characterization of the toxin analogues at the alpha(7) nAChR shows that although polar and charged groups on Pro(6) result in analogues with significantly reduced antagonistic activities, analogues with aromatic and hydrophobic substituents in the Pro(6) position exhibit moderate activity at the receptor. Interestingly, introduction of a 5-(R)-phenyl substituent at Pro(6) in alpha-conotoxin ImI gives rise to a conotoxin analogue with a significantly higher binding affinity and antagonistic activity at the alpha(7) nAChR than those exhibited by the native conotoxin.
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) on dopaminergic (DA) and GABAergic (Gaba) projection neurons of the substantia nigra (SN) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are characterized by single-cell RT-PCR and patch-clamp recordings in slices of rat and wild-type, beta2-/-, alpha4-/-, and alpha7-/- mice. The eight nAChR subunits expressed in these nuclei, alpha3-7 and beta2-4, contribute to four different types of nAChR-mediated currents. Most DA neurons in the SN and VTA express two nAChR subtypes. One is inhibited by dihydro-beta-erythroidine (2 microm), alpha-conotoxin MII (10 nm), and methyllycaconitine (1 nm) but does not contain the alpha7 subunit; it possesses a putative alpha4alpha6alpha5(beta2)(2) composition. The other subtype is inhibited by dihydro-beta-erythroidine (2 microm) and has a putative alpha4alpha5(beta2)(2) composition. Gaba neurons in the VTA exhibit a third subtype with a putative (alpha4)(2)(beta2)(3) composition, whereas Gaba neurons in the SN have either the putative (alpha4)(2)(beta2)(3) oligomer or the putative alpha4alpha6alpha5(beta2)(2) oligomer. The fourth subtype, a putative (alpha7)(5) homomer, is encountered in less than half of DA and Gaba neurons, in the SN as well as in the VTA. Neurons in the DA nuclei thus exhibit a diversity of nAChRs that might differentially modulate reinforcement and motor behavior.