Publication Details

Hogg, R. C., Miranda, L. P., Craik, D. J., Lewis, R. J., Alewood, P. F. & Adams, D. J. (1999). Single amino acid substitutions in α-conotoxin PnIA shift selectivity for subtypes of the mammalian neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 274 (51), 36559-36564.


The α-conotoxins, a class of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) antagonists, are emerging as important probes of the role played by different nAChR subtypes in cell function and communication. In this study, the native α-conotoxins PnIA and PnIB were found to cause concentration-dependent inhibition of the ACh-induced current in all rat parasympathetic neurons examined, with IC50 values of 14 and 33 nM, and a maximal reduction in current amplitude of 87% and 71%, respectively. The modified α-conotoxin [N11S]PnIA reduced the ACh-induced current with an IC50 value of 375 nM and a maximally effective concentration caused 91% block. [A10L]PnIA was the most potent inhibitor, reducing the ACh-induced current in ~80% of neurons, with an IC50 value of 1.4 nM and 46% maximal block of the total current. The residual current was not inhibited further by α-bungarotoxin, but was further reduced by the α-conotoxins PnIA or PnIB, and by mecamylamine. 1H NMR studies indicate that PnIA, PnIB, and the analogues, [A10L]PnIA and [N11S]PnIA, have identical backbone structures. We propose that positions 10 and 11 of PnIA and PnIB influence potency and determine selectivity among α7 and other nAChR subtypes, including α3β2 and α3β4. Four distinct components of the nicotinic ACh-induced current in mammalian parasympathetic neurons have been dissected with these conopeptides.



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