Gating Movement of Acetylcholine Receptor Caught by Plunge-Freezing.Unwin, N., Fujiyoshi, Y.
(2012) J.Mol.Biol. 422: 617
- PubMed: 22841691
- DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.07.010
- Primary Citation of Related Structures:
- PubMed Abstract:
The nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor converts transiently to an open-channel form when activated by ACh released into the synaptic cleft. We describe here the conformational change underlying this event, determined by electron microscopy of ACh ...
The nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor converts transiently to an open-channel form when activated by ACh released into the synaptic cleft. We describe here the conformational change underlying this event, determined by electron microscopy of ACh-sprayed and freeze-trapped postsynaptic membranes. ACh binding to the α subunits triggers a concerted rearrangement in the ligand-binding domain, involving an ~1-Å outward displacement of the extracellular portion of the β subunit where it interacts with the juxtaposed ends of α-helices shaping the narrow membrane-spanning pore. The β-subunit helices tilt outward to accommodate this displacement, destabilising the arrangement of pore-lining helices, which in the closed channel bend inward symmetrically to form a central hydrophobic gate. Straightening and tangential motion of the pore-lining helices effect channel opening by widening the pore asymmetrically and increasing its polarity in the region of the gate. The pore-lining helices of the α(γ) and δ subunits, by flexing between alternative bent and straight conformations, undergo the greatest movements. This coupled allosteric transition shifts the structure from a tense (closed) state toward a more relaxed (open) state.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK. email@example.com