GABAA receptors composed of α, β and γ subunits display a significantly higher single-channel conductance than receptors comprised of only α and β subunits. The pore of GABAA receptors is lined by the second transmembrane region from each of its five subunits and includes conserved threonines at the 6′, 10′ and 13′ positions. At the 2′ position, however, a polar residue is present in the γ subunit but not the α or β subunits. As residues at the 2′, 6′ and 10′ positions are exposed in the open channel and as such polar channel-lining residues may interact with permeant ions by substituting for water interactions, we compared both the single-channel conductance and the kinetic properties of wild-type α1β1 and α1β1γ2S receptors with two mutant receptors, αβγ(S2′A) and αβγ(S2′V). We found that the single-channel conductance of both mutant αβγ receptors was significantly decreased with respect to wild-type αβγ, with the presence of the larger valine side chain having the greatest effect. However, the conductance of the mutant αβγ receptors remained larger than wild-type αβ channels. This reduction in the conductance of mutant αβγ receptors was observed at depolarized potentials only (E Cl = −1.8 mV), which revealed an asymmetry in the ion conduction pathway mediated by the γ2′ residue. The substitutions at the γ2′ serine residue also altered the gating properties of the channel in addition to the effects on the conductance with the open probability of the mutant channels being decreased while the mean open time increased. The data presented in this study show that residues at the 2′ position in M2 of the γ subunit affects both single-channel conductance and receptor kinetics.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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