The cysteine (Cys) residue at position 312 in the third transmembrane domain (M3) is conserved among 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 (5-HT3) receptor subunits and many other subunits of the nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) related Cys-loop receptor family, including most of the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) and glycine receptor subunits. To elucidate a possible role for the Cys-312 in human 5-HT(3)A receptors, we replaced it with alanine and expressed the 5-HT(3)A(C312A) mutant in HEK293 cells. The mutation resulted in an absence of 5-HT-induced whole-cell current without reducing homopentamer formation, surface expression or 5-HT binding. The 5-HT(3)A(C312A) mutant, when co-expressed with the wild-type 5-HT(3)A subunit, did not affect functional expression of receptors, suggesting that the mutant is not dominant negative. Interestingly, co-expression of 5-HT(3)A(C312A) with 5-HT3B led to surface expression of heteropentamers that mediated small 5-HT responses. This suggests that the Cys-312 is essential for homomeric but not heteromeric receptor gating. To further investigate the relationship between residue 312 and gating we replaced it with amino acids located at the equivalent position within other Cys-loop subunits that are either capable or incapable of forming functional homopentamers. Replacement of 5-HT(3)A Cys-312 by Gly or Leu (equivalent residues in the nACh receptor delta and gamma subunits) abolished and severely attenuated function, respectively, whereas replacement by Thr or Ser (equivalent residues in nACh receptor alpha 7 and GABA(A) subunits) supported robust function. Thus, 5-HT(3)A residue 312 and equivalent polar residues in the M3 of other Cys-loop subunits are essential determinants of homopentameric gating.
- GATED ION-CHANNEL
- NICOTINIC ACETYLCHOLINE-RECEPTOR
- TRYPTOPHAN-SCANNING MUTAGENESIS
- MU-OPIOID RECEPTOR
- CELL-SURFACE EXPRESSION
- GABA(A) RECEPTORS