Binding of long-chain α-neurotoxin would stabilize the resting state of nAChR: A comparative study with α-conotoxin
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors from muscle contain two functionally active and pharmacologically distinct acetylcholine-binding sites located at the alpha/gamma and alpha/delta subunit interfaces. The alpha-conotoxins are competitive antagonists of nicotinic receptors and can be highly site-selective, displaying greater than 10,000-fold differences in affinities for the two acetylcholine-binding sites on a single nicotinic receptor. The higher affinity site for alpha-conotoxins GI, MI, and SI is the alpha/delta site on mouse muscle-derived BC3H-1 receptors. However, alpha-conotoxins GI and MI exhibit higher affinity for the other site (alpha/gamma site) on nicotinic receptors from Torpedo californica electric organ. alpha-Conotoxin SI does not distinguish between the two acetylcholine-binding sites on Torpedo receptors. In this study, alpha-conotoxins [K10H]SI and [K10N]SI displayed wild-type affinity for the two acetylcholine-binding sites on BC3H-1 receptors but a 10-20-fold decrease in apparent affinity at one of the two acetylcholine-binding sites on Torpedo receptors. alpha-Conotoxin [P9K]SI displayed a selective and dramatic increase in the apparent affinity for the alpha/delta site of BC3H-1 receptors and for the alpha/gamma site of Torpedo receptors. alpha-Conotoxin [R9A]GI displayed a reduction in affinity for both acetylcholine-binding sites on BC3H-1 receptors, although the extent of its selectivity for the alpha/delta site was retained. alpha-Conotoxin [R9A]GI also displayed a loss of affinity for the two acetylcholine-binding sites on Torpedo receptors, but its site-selectivity was apparently abolished. These results indicate that positions 9 and 10 in alpha-conotoxins GI and SI are involved in complex species- and subunit-dependent interactions with nicotinic receptors.