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© Structural Dynamics Of Macromolecules
The structure of a bacterial analog of the nicotinic receptor (one color per subunit) inserted into the cell membrane (grey and orange). A representation of the volume accessible to ions is shown in yellow.
Publication : Biophysical journal

Normal mode analysis suggests a quaternary twist model for the nicotinic receptor gating mechanism

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Biophysical journal - 01 Apr 2005

Taly A, Delarue M, Grutter T, Nilges M, Le Novère N, Corringer PJ, Changeux JP

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15805177

Biophys. J. 2005 Jun;88(6):3954-65

We present a three-dimensional model of the homopentameric alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), that includes the extracellular and membrane domains, developed by comparative modeling on the basis of: 1), the x-ray crystal structure of the snail acetylcholine binding protein, an homolog of the extracellular domain of nAChRs; and 2), cryo-electron microscopy data of the membrane domain collected on Torpedo marmorata nAChRs. We performed normal mode analysis on the complete three-dimensional model to explore protein flexibility. Among the first 10 lowest frequency modes, only the first mode produces a structural reorganization compatible with channel gating: a wide opening of the channel pore caused by a concerted symmetrical quaternary twist motion of the protein with opposing rotations of the upper (extracellular) and lower (transmembrane) domains. Still, significant reorganizations are observed within each subunit, that involve their bending at the domain interface, an increase of angle between the two beta-sheets composing the extracellular domain, the internal beta-sheet being significantly correlated to the movement of the M2 alpha-helical segment. This global symmetrical twist motion of the pentameric protein complex, which resembles the opening transition of other multimeric ion channels, reasonably accounts for the available experimental data and thus likely describes the nAChR gating process.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15805177