Chloride Channels of Glycine and GABA Receptors with Blockers: Monte Carlo Minimization and Structure-Activity Relationships
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GABA and glycine receptors (GlyRs) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels that respond to the inhibitory neurotransmitters by opening a chloride-selective central pore lined with five M2 segments homologous to those of alpha(1) GlyR/ ARVG(2')LGIT(6')TVLTMTTQSSGSR. The activity of cyanotriphenylborate (CTB) and picrotoxinin (PTX), the best-studied blockers of the Cl(-) pores, depends essentially on the subunit composition of the receptors, in particular, on residues in positions 2' and 6' that form the pore-facing rings R(2') and R(6'). Thus, CTB blocks alpha(1) and alpha(1)/beta, but not alpha(2) GlyRs (Rundström, N., V. Schmieden, H. Betz, J. Bormann, and D. Langosch. 1994. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 91:8950-8954). PTX blocks homomeric receptors (alpha(1) GlyR and rat rho(1) GABAR), but weakly antagonizes heteromeric receptors (alpha(1)/beta GlyR and rho(1)/rho(2) GABAR) (Pribilla, I., T. Takagi, D. Langosch, J. Bormann, and H. Betz. 1992. EMBO J. 11:4305-4311; Zhang D., Z. H. Pan, X. Zhang, A. D. Brideau, and S. A. Lipton. 1995. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 92:11756-11760). Using as a template the kinked-helices model of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the open state (Tikhonov, D. B., and B. S. Zhorov. 1998. Biophys. J. 74:242-255), we have built homology models of GlyRs and GABARs and calculated Monte Carlo-minimized energy profiles for the blockers pulled through the pore. The profiles have shallow minima at the wide extracellular half of the pore, a barrier at ring R(6'), and a deep minimum between rings R(6') and R(2') where the blockers interact with five M2s simultaneously. The star-like CTB swings necessarily on its way through ring R(6') and its activity inversely correlates with the barrier at R(6'): Thr(6')s and Ala(2')s in alpha(2) GlyR confine the swinging by increasing the barrier, while Gly(2')s in alpha(1) GlyR and Phe(6')s in beta GlyR shrink the barrier. PTX has an egg-like shape with an isopropenyl group at the elongated end and the rounded end trimmed by ether and carbonyl oxygens. In the optimal binding mode to alpha(1) GlyR and rho(1) GABAR, the rounded end of PTX accepts several H-bonds from Thr(6')s, while the elongated end enters ring R(2'). The lack of H-bond donors on the side chains of Phe(6')s (beta GlyR) and Met(6')s (rho(2) GABAR) deteriorates the binding. The hydrophilic elongated end of picrotin does not fit the hydrophobic ring of Pro(2')s/Ala(2')s in GABARs, but fit a more hydrophilic ring with Gly(2')s in GlyRs. This analysis provides explanations for structure-activity relationships of noncompetitive agonists and predicts a narrow pore of LGICs in agreement with experimental data on the permeation of organic cations.
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