The Structural Basis for Lipid-Dependent Uncoupling of the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

Title: The Structural Basis for Lipid-Dependent Uncoupling of the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
Authors: Sun, Jiayin
Date: 2017
Abstract: In lipid membranes lacking activating lipids, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor adopts an uncoupled conformation that binds ligand, but does not transition into an open conformation. Understanding the mechanisms of lipid-dependent uncoupling is essential to understanding lipid-nAChR interactions, which may be implicated in pathological conditions such as nicotine addition. Here, I tested two structural features of a proposed uncoupling method to elucidate the mechanism of lipid-dependent uncoupling. First, infrared measurements and electrophysiological characterization performed in prokaryotic homologues indicate that lipid sensitivity is largely controlled by the most peripheral α-helix in the transmembrane domain, M4. My data show that tighter association of M4 with the adjacent M1 and M3 transmembrane α-helices decreases a receptor’s propensity to adopt a lipid-dependent uncoupled conformation. Second, I indirectly tested the hypothesis that uncoupling results from a conformational change at the extracellular/transmembrane domain interface that leads to an increased separation between the two domains and ultimately to a constriction of the channel pore. Finally, biophysical studies presented in this dissertation shed light on the complex binding of a number of non-competitive channel blockers to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor channel pore in both the resting and desensitized states. The data provide further insight into the structural rearrangements that occur upon uncoupling of ligand binding and gating in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -