Expression of water-soluble, ligand-binding concatameric extracellular domains of the human neuronal nicotinic receptor alpha4 and beta2 subunits in the yeast Pichia pastoris: glycosylation is not required for ligand binding.
ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated cation channels that are responsible for cell communication via the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The predominant nAChR subtype in the mammalian brain with a high affinity for nicotine is composed of ?4 and ?2 subunits. This nAChR subtype is responsible for addiction to nicotine and is thought to be implicated in Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases and therefore presents an important target for drug design. In an effort to obtain water-soluble, ligand-binding domains of the human ?4?2 nAChR for structural studies, we expressed the extracellular domains (ECDs) of these subunits in the eukaryotic expression system Pichia pastoris. The wild-type ECDs and their mutants containing the more hydrophilic Cys-loop from the snail acetylcholine-binding protein (individually expressed or coexpressed) did not demonstrate any specific interaction with ligands. We then linked the mutated ECDs with the 24-amino acid peptide (AGS)(8) and observed that the ?2-24-?4 ECD concatamer, but not the ?4-24-?2 one, exhibited very satisfactory water solubility and ligand binding properties. The (125)I-epibatidine and [(3)H]nicotine bound to ?2-24-?4 with dissociation constants (K(d)) of 0.38 and 19 nm, respectively, close to the published values for the intact ?4?2 AChR. In addition, (125)I-epibatidine binding was blocked by nicotine, cytisine, acetylcholine, and carbamylcholine with inhibition constants (K(i)) of 20.64, 3.24, 242, and 2,254 nm, respectively. Interestingly, deglycosylation of the concatamer did not affect its ligand binding properties. Furthermore, the deglycosylated ?2-24-?4 ECD existed mainly in monomeric form, thus forming an appropriate material for structural studies and possibly for pharmacological evaluation of novel ?4?2 nAChR-specific agonists.
Project description:The ?9 subunit of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) exists mainly in heteropentameric assemblies with ?10. Accumulating data indicate the presence of three different binding sites in ?9?10 nAChRs: the ?9(+)/?9(-), the ?9(+)/?10(-), and the ?10(+)/?9(-). The major role of the principal (+) side of the extracellular domain (ECD) of ?9 subunit in binding of the antagonists methyllylcaconitine and ?-bungarotoxin was shown previously by the crystal structures of the monomeric ?9-ECD with these molecules. Here we present the 2.26-Å resolution crystal structure of ?9-ECD in complex with ?-conotoxin (?-Ctx) RgIA, a potential drug for chronic pain, the first structure reported for a complex between an nAChR domain and an ?-Ctx. Superposition of this structure with those of other ?-Ctxs bound to the homologous pentameric acetylcholine binding proteins revealed significant similarities in the orientation of bound conotoxins, despite the monomeric state of the ?9-ECD. In addition, ligand-binding studies calculated a binding affinity of RgIA to the ?9-ECD at the low micromolar range. Given the high identity between ?9 and ?10 ECDs, particularly at their (+) sides, the presented structure was used as template for molecular dynamics simulations of the ECDs of the human ?9?10 nAChR in pentameric assemblies. Our results support a favorable binding of RgIA at ?9(+)/?9(-) or ?10(+)/?9(-) rather than the ?9(+)/?10(-) interface, in accordance with previous mutational and functional data.
Project description:Genomic and pharmacologic data have suggested the involvement of the ?3?4 subtype of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in drug seeking to nicotine and other drugs of abuse. In order to better examine this receptor subtype, we have identified and characterized the first high affinity and selective ?3?4 nAChR antagonist, AT-1001, both in vitro and in vivo. This is the first reported compound with a Ki below 10 nM at ?3?4 nAChR and >90-fold selectivity over the other major subtypes, the ?4?2 and ?7 nAChR. AT-1001 competes with epibatidine, allowing for [³H]epibatidine binding to be used for structure-activity studies, however, both receptor binding and ligand-induced Ca²? flux are not strictly competitive because increasing ligand concentration produces an apparent decrease in receptor number and maximal Ca²? fluorescence. AT-1001 also potently and reversibly blocks epibatidine-induced inward currents in HEK cells transfected with ?3?4 nAChR. Importantly, AT-1001 potently and dose-dependently blocks nicotine self-administration in rats, without affecting food responding. When tested in a nucleus accumbens (NAcs) synaptosomal preparation, AT-1001 inhibits nicotine-induced [³H]dopamine release poorly and at significantly higher concentrations compared with mecamylamine and conotoxin MII. These results suggest that its inhibition of nicotine self-administration in rats is not directly due to a decrease in dopamine release from the NAc, and most likely involves an indirect pathway requiring ?3?4 nAChR. In conclusion, our studies provide further evidence for the involvement of ?3?4 nAChR in nicotine self-administration. These findings suggest the utility of this receptor as a target for smoking cessation medications, and highlight the potential of AT-1001 and congeners as clinically useful compounds.
Project description:In this study we report the X-ray crystal structure of the extracellular domain (ECD) of the human neuronal ?2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit in complex with the agonist epibatidine at 3.2 Å. Interestingly, ?2 was crystallized as a pentamer, revealing the intersubunit interactions in a wild type neuronal nAChR ECD and the full ligand binding pocket conferred by two adjacent ? subunits. The pentameric assembly presents the conserved structural scaffold observed in homologous proteins, as well as distinctive features, providing unique structural information of the binding site between principal and complementary faces. Structure-guided mutagenesis and electrophysiological data confirmed the presence of the ?2(+)/?2(-) binding site on the heteromeric low sensitivity ?2?2 nAChR and validated the functional importance of specific residues in ?2 and ?2 nAChR subunits. Given the pathological importance of the ?2 nAChR subunit and the high sequence identity with ?4 (78%) and other neuronal nAChR subunits, our findings offer valuable information for modeling several nAChRs and ultimately for structure-based design of subtype specific drugs against the nAChR associated diseases.
Project description:The role of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) containing the ?4 subunit in tolerance development and nicotinic binding site levels following chronic nicotine treatment was investigated. Mice differing in expression of the ?4-nAChR subunit [wild-type (?4(++)), heterozygote (?4(+-)) and null mutant (?4(--))] were chronically treated for 10 days with nicotine (0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 or 4.0mg/kg/h) by constant intravenous infusion. Chronic nicotine treatment elicited dose-dependent tolerance development. ?4(--) mice developed significantly more tolerance than either ?4(++) or ?4(+-) mice which was most evident following treatment with 4.0mg/kg/h nicotine. Subsets of [(125)I]-epibatidine binding were measured in several brain regions. Deletion of the ?4 subunit had little effect on initial levels of cytisine-sensitive [(125)I]-epibatidine binding (primarily ?4?2-nAChR sites) or their response (generally increased binding) to chronic nicotine treatment. In contrast, ?4 gene-dose-dependent decreases in expression 5IA-85380 resistant [(125)I]-epibatidine binding sites (primarily ?4*-nAChR) were observed. While these ?4*-nAChR sites were generally resistant to regulation by chronic nicotine treatment, significant increases in binding were noted for habenula and hindbrain. Comparison of previously published tolerance development in ?2(--) mice (less tolerance) to that of ?4(--) mice (more tolerance) supports a differential role for these receptor subtypes in regulating tolerance following chronic nicotine treatment.
Project description:[(125)I]-Epibatidine binds to multiple nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes with high affinity. In this study, [(125)I]-epibatidine was used to label and characterize a novel nAChR subtype found in mouse brain inferior colliculus, interpeduncular nucleus, and olfactory bulb homogenates. Binding of [(125)I]-epibatidine was saturable and apparently monophasic in each brain region (K:(D:)=71+/-12 pM mean+/-s.e.mean across regions) but inhibition of [(125)I]-epibatidine binding (200 pM) by A85380, cytisine and (-)-nicotine was biphasic, indicating the presence of multiple binding sites. The sites with lower agonist affinity comprised 30.0+/-2.2, 58.6+/-0.1 and 48.7+/-3.3% of specific [(125)I]-epibatidine (200 pM) binding in inferior colliculus, interpeduncular nucleus, and olfactory bulb homogenates, respectively. The affinity difference between A85380-sensitive and -resistant binding sites was particularly marked (approximately 1000 fold). Thus A85380 was used to differentiate agonist-sensitive and -resistant sites. The pharmacological profiles of the A85380-resistant sites in each region were assessed with inhibition binding experiments, using 14 agonists and five antagonists. The profiles were indistinguishable across regions, implying that A85380-resistant [(125)I]-epibatidine binding sites in inferior colliculus, interpeduncular nucleus, and olfactory bulb represent a single nAChR subtype. The pharmacological profile of the A85380-resistant sites is very different from that previously reported for high affinity (-)-[(3)H]-nicotine-, [(125)I]-alpha-bungarotoxin-, or [(125)I]-alpha-conotoxin MII-binding sites, suggesting that they represent a novel nAChR population in mouse brain.
Project description:The homomeric α7 nicotinic receptor (α7 nAChR) is widely expressed in the human brain that could be activated to suppress neuroinflammation, oxidative stress and neuropathic pain. Consequently, a number of α7 nAChR agonists have entered clinical trials as anti-Alzheimer's or anti-psychotic therapies. However, high-resolution crystal structure of the full-length α7 receptor is thus far unavailable. Since acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP) from Lymnaea stagnalis is most closely related to the α-subunit of nAChRs, it has been used as a template for the N-terminal domain of α-subunit of nAChR to study the molecular recognition process of nAChR-ligand interactions, and to identify ligands with potential nAChR-like activities.Here we report the discovery and optimization of novel acetylcholine-binding protein ligands through screening, structure-activity relationships and structure-based design. We manually screened in-house CNS-biased compound library in vitro and identified compound 1, a piperidine derivative, as an initial hit with moderate binding affinity against AChBP (17.2% inhibition at 100 nmol/L). During the 1st round of optimization, with compound 2 (21.5% inhibition at 100 nmol/L) as the starting point, 13 piperidine derivatives with different aryl substitutions were synthesized and assayed in vitro. No apparent correlation was demonstrated between the binding affinities and the steric or electrostatic effects of aryl substitutions for most compounds, but compound 14 showed a higher affinity (Ki=105.6 nmol/L) than nicotine (Ki=777 nmol/L). During the 2nd round of optimization, we performed molecular modeling of the putative complex of compound 14 with AChBP, and compared it with the epibatidine-AChBP complex. The results suggested that a different piperidinyl substitution might confer a better fit for epibatidine as the reference compound. Thus, compound 15 was designed and identified as a highly affinitive acetylcholine-binding protein ligand. In this study, through two rounds of optimization, compound 15 (Ki=2.8 nmol/L) has been identified as a novel, piperidine-based acetylcholine-binding protein ligand with a high affinity.
Project description:The tobacco-dependence pharmacotherapies varenicline and cytisine act as partial ?4?2 nAChR agonists. However, the extent to which ?4?2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) mediate their in-vivo effects remains unclear. Nicotine, varenicline, cytisine, and epibatidine were studied in male C57BL/6J mice for their effects on rates of fixed ratio responding and rectal temperature alone and in combination with the nonselective nAChR antagonist mecamylamine and the ?4?2 nAChR antagonist dihydro-?-erythroidine. The effects of nicotine, varenicline, cytisine, epibatidine, and cocaine were assessed before and during chronic nicotine treatment. The rate-decreasing and hypothermic effects of nicotine, varenicline, cytisine, and epibatidine were antagonized by mecamylamine (1?mg/kg), but only the effects of nicotine and epibatidine were antagonized by dihydro-?-erythroidine (3.2?mg/kg). Chronic nicotine produced 4.7 and 5.1-fold rightward shifts in the nicotine dose-effect functions to decrease response rate and rectal temperature, respectively. Nicotine treatment decreased the potency of epibatidine to decrease response rate and rectal temperature 2.2 and 2.9-fold, respectively, and shifted the varenicline dose-effect functions 2.0 and 1.7-fold rightward, respectively. Cross-tolerance did not develop from nicotine to cytisine. These results suggest that the in-vivo pharmacology of tobacco cessation aids cannot be attributed to a single nAChR subtype; instead, multiple receptor subtypes differentially mediate their effects.
Project description:Chronic nicotine treatment elicits a brain region-selective increase in the number of high-affinity agonist binding sites, a phenomenon termed up-regulation. Nicotine-induced up-regulation of α4β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in cell cultures results from increased assembly and/or decreased degradation of nAChRs, leading to increased nAChR protein levels. To evaluate whether the increased binding in mouse brain results from an increase in nAChR subunit proteins, C57BL/6 mice were treated with nicotine by chronic intravenous infusion. Tissue sections were prepared, and binding of [(125)I]3-((2S)-azetidinylmethoxy)-5-iodo-pyridine (A85380) to β2*-nAChR sites, [(125)I]monoclonal antibody (mAb) 299 to α4 nAChR subunits, and [(125)I]mAb 270 to β2 nAChR subunits was determined by quantitative autoradiography. Chronic nicotine treatment dose-dependently increased binding of all three ligands. In regions that express α4β2-nAChR almost exclusively, binding of all three ligands increased coordinately. However, in brain regions containing significant β2*-nAChR without α4 subunits, relatively less increase in mAb 270 binding to β2 subunits was observed. Signal intensity measured with the mAbs was lower than that with [(125)I]A85380, perhaps because the small ligand penetrated deeply into the sections, whereas the much larger mAbs encountered permeability barriers. Immunoprecipitation of [(125)I]epibatidine binding sites with mAb 270 in select regions of nicotine-treated mice was nearly quantitative, although somewhat less so with mAb 299, confirming that the mAbs effectively recognize their targets. The patterns of change measured using immunoprecipitation were comparable with those determined autoradiographically. Thus, increases in α4β2*-nAChR binding sites after chronic nicotine treatment reflect increased nAChR protein.
Project description:A series of 3'-(substituted phenyl)deschloroepibatidine analogs (5a-j) were synthesized. The alpha4beta2( *) and alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) binding properties and functional activity in the tail-flick, hot-plate, locomotor, and body temperature tests in mice of 5a-j were compared to those of the nAChR agonist, nicotine (1), epibatidine (4), and deschloroepibatidine (13), the partial agonist, varenicline (3), and the antagonist 2'-fluoro-3'-(substituted phenyl)deschloroepibatidine analogs (7a-j). Unlike epibatidine and deschloroepibatidine, which are potent agonists in the tail-flick test, 5a-k show no or very low antinociceptive activity in the tail-flick or hot-plate test. However, they are potent antagonists in nicotine-induced antinociception in the tail-flick test, but weaker than the corresponding 2'-fluoro-3'-(substituted phenyl)deschloroepibatidines.
Project description:Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists, such as epibatidine and its molecular derivatives, are potential therapeutic agents for a variety of neurological disorders. In order to identify determinants for subtype-selective agonist binding, it is important to determine whether an agonist binds in a common orientation in different nAChR subtypes. To compare the mode of binding of epibatidine in a muscle and a neuronal nAChR, we photolabeled Torpedo alpha(2)betagammadelta and expressed human alpha4beta2 nAChRs with [(3)H]epibatidine and identified by Edman degradation the photolabeled amino acids. Irradiation at 254 nm resulted in photolabeling of alphaTyr(198) in agonist binding site Segment C of the principal (+) face in both alpha subunits and of gammaLeu(109) and gammaTyr(117) in Segment E of the complementary (-) face, with no labeling detected in the delta subunit. For affinity-purified alpha4beta2 nAChRs, [(3)H]epibatidine photolabeled alpha4Tyr(195) (equivalent to Torpedo alphaTyr(190)) in Segment C as well as beta2Val(111) and beta2Ser(113) in Segment E (equivalent to Torpedo gammaLeu(109) and gammaTyr(111), respectively). Consideration of the location of the photolabeled amino acids in homology models of the nAChRs based upon the acetylcholine-binding protein structure and the results of ligand docking simulations suggests that epibatidine binds in a single preferred orientation within the alpha-gamma transmitter binding site, whereas it binds in two distinct orientations in the alpha4beta2 nAChR.