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Fast inhibitory neurotransmission is essential for nervous system function and is mediated by binding of inhibitory neurotransmitters to receptors of the Cys-loop family embedded in the membranes of neurons. Neurotransmitter binding triggers a conformational change in the receptor, opening an intrinsic chloride channel and thereby dampening neuronal(More)
Cys-loop receptors are neurotransmitter-gated ion channels that are essential mediators of fast chemical neurotransmission and are associated with a large number of neurological diseases and disorders, as well as parasitic infections. Members of this ion channel superfamily mediate excitatory or inhibitory neurotransmission depending on their ligand and ion(More)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate fast chemical neurotransmission at the neuromuscular junction and have diverse signalling roles in the central nervous system. The nicotinic receptor has been a model system for cell-surface receptors, and specifically for ligand-gated ion channels, for well over a century. In(More)
The pentameric acetylcholine-binding protein (AChBP) is a soluble surrogate of the ligand binding domain of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Agonists bind within a nest of aromatic side chains contributed by loops C and F on opposing faces of each subunit interface. Crystal structures of Aplysia AChBP bound with the agonist anabaseine, two partial(More)
Acetylcholine-binding proteins (AChBPs) from mollusks are suitable structural and functional surrogates of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors when combined with transmembrane spans of the nicotinic receptor. These proteins assemble as a pentamer with identical ACh binding sites at the subunit interfaces and show ligand specificities resembling those of(More)
Optimization of membrane protein stability under different solution conditions is essential for obtaining crystals that diffract to high resolution. Traditional methods that evaluate protein stability require large amounts of material and are, therefore, ill suited for medium- to high-throughput screening of membrane proteins. Here we present a rapid and(More)
Using the Lymnaea acetylcholine-binding protein as a surrogate of the extracellular domain of the nicotinic receptor, we combined site-directed labeling with fluorescence spectroscopy to assess possible linkages between ligand binding and conformational dynamics. Specifically, 2-[(5-fluoresceinyl)aminocarbonyl]ethyl methanethiosulfonate was conjugated to a(More)
We undertook cysteine substitution mutagenesis and fluorophore conjugation at selected residue positions to map sites of ligand binding and changes in solvent exposure of the acetylcholine-binding protein from Lymnaea stagnalis, a nicotinic receptor surrogate. Acrylodan fluorescence emission is highly sensitive to its local environment, and when bound to(More)
Neuronal nicotinic receptors, encoded by nine genes of the alpha and three of the beta type of subunits, and whose gene products assemble in distinct permutations as pentameric molecules, constitute a fertile area for structure-guided drug design. Design strategies are augmented by a wide variety of peptide, alkaloid and terpenoid toxins from various marine(More)