Involvement of the alpha3 subunit in central nicotinic binding populations.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Adaptor proteins are likely to modulate spatially and temporally the trafficking of a number of membrane proteins, including neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). A yeast two-hybrid screen identified a novel UBX-containing protein, UBXD4, as one of the cytosolic proteins that interact directly with the alpha3 and alpha4 nAChR subunits. The function of UBX-containing proteins is largely unknown. Immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy confirmed the interaction of UBXD4 with alpha3-containing nAChRs (alpha3* nAChRs) expressed in HEK293 cells, PC12 cells, and rat cortical neurons. Overexpression of UBXD4 in differentiated PC12 cells (dPC12) increased nAChR cell surface expression, especially that of the alpha3beta2 subtype. These findings were corroborated by electrophysiology, immunofluorescent staining, and biotinylation of surface receptors. Silencing of UBXD4 led to a significant reduction of alpha3* nAChRs in rat cortical neurons and dPC12 cells. Biochemical and immunofluorescence studies of endogenous UBXD4 showed that the protein is located in both the ER and cis-Golgi compartments. Our investigations also showed that the alpha3 subunit is ubiquitinated and that UBXD4 can interfere with its ubiquitination and consequent degradation by the proteasome. Our data suggest that UBXD4 modulates the distribution of alpha3* nAChRs between specialized intracellular compartments and the plasma membrane. This effect is achieved by controlling the stability of the alpha3 subunit and, consequently, the number of receptors at the cell surface.
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: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.
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:Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious and costly problem in USA. Thus, the development of anti-alcoholism agents could be very significant. The understanding of the neurochemical basis underlying the addictive properties of drugs of abuse is imperative for the development of new pharmacological means to reverse the addictive state, prevent relapse or to reduce the intake of addictive compounds. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are important therapeutic targets for various diseases. Recent studies have revealed that the alpha3beta2, alpha3beta3, and alpha6 subunits of nAChR protein family might be pharmacological targets for developing new drugs in the treatment of alcoholism. We have performed computational homology modeling of the alpha3beta2, alpha3beta3, and alpha6 subunits of human nACHRs based upon the recently determined crystal structure of the extracellular domain (ECD) of the mouse nAChR alpha1 subunit complexed with alpha-bungarotoxin at 1.94 A resolution. For comparison, we also built the ECD models of alpha4beta2, and alpha7 subunits of human nACHRs which are neurochemical targets for cessation of smoking. The three-dimensional (3D) models of the ECD of the monomer, and pentamer of these human nAChR were constructed. The docking of the agonist in the ligand-binding pocket of the human nAChR dimers was also performed. Since the nAChR ligand-binding site is a useful target for mutagenesis studies and the rational design of drugs against various diseases, these models provide useful information for future investigation.
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:1. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of chronic treatment (for 4 or 7 days) with nicotinic drugs and 20 mM KCl on numbers of surface alpha7 nicotinic AChR, identified by [(125)I]-alpha bungarotoxin (alpha-Bgt) binding, in primary hippocampal cultures and SH-SY5Y cells. Numbers of alpha3* nicotinic AChR were also examined in SH-SY5Y cells, using [(3)H]-epibatidine, which is predicted to label the total cellular population of predominantly alpha3beta2* nicotinic AChR under the conditions used. 2. All the nicotinic agonists examined, the antagonists d-tubocurarine and methyllycaconitine, and KCl, upregulated [(125)I]-alpha Bgt binding sites by 20 - 60% in hippocampal neurones and, where examined, SH-SY5Y cells. 3. Upregulation of [(125)I]-alpha-Bgt binding sites by KCl was prevented by co-incubation with the L-type Ca2+ channel blocker verapamil or the Ca2+-calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaM-kinase II) inhibitor KN-62. Upregulation of [(125)I]-alpha-Bgt binding sites by nicotine or 3,[(4-dimethylamino) cinnamylidene] anabaseine maleate (DMAC) was insensitive to these agents. 4. [(3)H]-Epibatidine binding sites in SH-SY5Y cells were not affected by KCl but were upregulated in a verapamil-insensitive manner by nicotine and DMAC. KN-62 itself provoked a 2 fold increase in [(3)H]-epibatidine binding. The inactive analogue KN-04 had no effect, suggesting that CaM-kinase II plays a role in regulating numbers of alpha3* nicotinic AChR. 5. These data indicate that numbers of alpha3* and alpha7 nicotinic AChR are modulated differently. Nicotinic agonists and KCl upregulate alpha7 nicotinic AChR through distinct cellular mechanisms, the latter involving L-type Ca2+ channels and CaM-kinase II. In contrast, alpha3* nicotinic AChR are not upregulated by KCl. This difference may reflect the distinct physiological roles proposed for alpha7 nicotinic AChR.
Project description:Tobacco is a known cause of oral disease but the mechanism remains elusive. Nicotine (Nic) is a likely culprit of pathobiological effects because it displaces the local cytotransmitter acetylcholine from the nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) expressed by oral keratinocytes (KCs). To gain a mechanistic insight into tobacco-induced morbidity in the oral cavity, we studied effects of exposures to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) versus equivalent concentration of pure Nic on human and murine KCs. Both ETS and Nic up-regulated expression of cell cycle and apoptosis regulators, differentiation marker filaggrin, and signal transduction factors at both the mRNA and protein levels. These changes could be abolished in cultured human oral KCs transfected with anti-alpha3 small interfering RNA or treated with the alpha3beta2-preferring antagonist alpha-conotoxin MII. Functional inactivation of alpha3-mediated signaling in alpha3-/- mutant KCs prevented most of the ETS/Nic-dependent changes in gene expression. To determine relevance of the in vitro findings to the in vivo situation, we studied gene expression in oral mucosa of neonatal alpha3+/+ and alpha3-/- littermates delivered by heterozygous mice soon after their exposures to ETS or equivalent concentration of pure Nic in drinking water. In addition to reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, the ETS/Nic-dependent alterations in gene expression were also detected by semiquantitative immunofluorescence assay directly in KCs comprising murine oral mucosa. Only wild-type mice consistently developed significant (P < 0.05) changes in the gene expression. These results identified alpha3beta2 nAChR as a major receptor mediating effects of tobacco products on KC gene expression. Real-time polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that in all three model systems the common genes targeted by alpha3beta2-mediated ETS/Nic toxicity were p21, Bcl-2, NF-kappaB, and STAT-1. The expression of the nAChR subunits alpha5 and beta2 and the muscarinic receptor subtypes M(2) and M(3) was also altered. This novel mechanism offers innovative solutions to ameliorate the tobacco-related cell damage and intercede in disease pathways, and may shed light on general mechanisms regulating and driving tobacco-related morbidity in human cells.