Mutagenesis of the rat α1 subunit of the γ-aminobutyric acid(A) receptor reveals the importance of residue 101 in determining the allosteric effects of benzodiazepine site ligands

Susan M. J. Dunn, Martin Davies, Anna Lisa Muntoni, Jeremy J. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The γ-aminobutyric acid(A) (GABA(A)) receptor contains a binding site (or sites) for benzodiazepines and related ligands. Previous studies have shown that the residue occupying position 101 (rat numbering) of the α subunit is particularly important in determining how some of these corn pounds interact with the receptor. We have made multiple substitutions (F, Y, K, Q, and E) of the histidine at this position of the rat α1 subunit and coexpressed the mutant subunits with β2 and γ2 subunits in Xenopus oocytes. The effects of flunitrazepam, Ro15-1788, and Ro15-4513 on GABA-gated currents were then examined using electrophysiological techniques. Three substitutions (F, Y, and Q) had little effect on the ability of flunitrazepam to potentiate GABA-induced currents and had relatively modest effects on the EC 50 value of the flunitrazepam response. Other mutations (K and E) resulted in drastic reduction of flunitrazepam recognition. All substitutions also affected the EC 50 values for Ro15-1788 and Ro15-4513, and some led to dramatic changes in their efficacy. For example, H101Y, H101K, and H101Q produced receptors at which Ro15-1788 acted as a partial agonist (maximum potentiation of 164, 159, and 130%, respectively), whereas Ro15-4513 acted as a partial agonist at H101F, H101K, and H101E (potentiation of 122, 138, and 110%, respectively) and an antagonist at H101Y and H101Q. These results indicate that the characteristics of the residue at position 101 of the α1 subunit play a crucial role in determining the efficacy of benzodiazepine-site ligands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-774
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Volume56
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999

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