PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-6 (6)
 

Clipboard (0)
None

Select a Filter Below

Journals
Authors
more »
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Effects of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor allosteric modulators in animal behavior studies 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;86(8):1054-1062.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated cation-conducting transmembrane channels from the cys-loop receptor superfamily. The neuronal subtypes of these receptors (e.g. the α7 and α4β2 subtypes) are involved in neurobehavioral processes such as anxiety, the central processing of pain, food intake, nicotine seeking behavior, and a number of cognitive functions like learning and memory. Neuronal nAChR dysfunction is involved in the pathophysiology of many neurological disorders, and behavioral studies in animals are useful models to assess the effects of compounds that act on these receptors. Allosteric modulators are ligands that bind to the receptors at sites other than the orthosteric site where acetylcholine, the endogenous agonist for the nAChRs, binds. While conventional ligands for the neuronal nAChRs have been studied for their behavioral effects in animals, allosteric modulators for these receptors have only recently gained attention, and research on their behavioral effects is growing rapidly. Here we will discuss the behavioral effects of allosteric modulators of the neuronal nAChRs.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2013.05.018
PMCID: PMC3797251  PMID: 23732296
Allosteric modulation; animal behavioral studies; cognition; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; pain; positive allosteric modulators
2.  Activation of the α7 nicotinic ACh receptor induces anxiogenic effects in rats which is blocked by a 5-HT1a receptor antagonist 
Neuropharmacology  2013;70:35-42.
The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is highly expressed in different regions of the brain and is associated with cognitive function as well as anxiety. Agonists and positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the α7 subtype of nAChRs have been shown to improve cognition. Previously nicotine, which activates both α7 and non-α7 subtypes of nAChRs, has been shown to have an anxiogenic effect in behavioral tests. In this study, we compared the effects of the α7-selective agonist (PNU-282987) and PAM (PNU-120596) in a variety of behavioral tests in Sprague Dawley rats to look at their effects on learning and memory as well as anxiety. We found that neither PNU-282987 nor PNU-120596 improved spatial-learning or episodic memory by themselves. However when cognitive impairment was induced in the rats with scopolamine (1 mg/kg), both PNU-120596 and PNU-282987 were able to reverse this memory impairment and restore it back to normal levels. While PNU-120596 reversed the scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment, it did not have any adverse effect on anxiety. PNU-282987 on the other hand displayed an increase in anxiety-like behavior at a higher dose (10 mg/kg) that was significantly reduced by the serotonin 5-HT1a receptor antagonist WAY-100135. However the α7 receptor antagonist methyllycaconitine was unable to reverse these anxiety-like effects seen with PNU-282987. These results suggest that α7 nAChR PAMs are pharmacologically advantageous over agonists, and should be considered for further development as therapeutic drugs targeting the α7 receptors.
doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.01.004
PMCID: PMC3640667  PMID: 23321689
5-HT1a Receptor (5-HT1a R); Alpha7 (α7) receptor agonist; Anxiety; Memory and Learning; Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors (nAChRs); Positive Allosteric Modulators (PAMs)
3.  Deconstruction of the α4β2 Nicotinic Acetylchloine (nACh) Receptor Positive Allosteric Modulator des-Formylflustrabromine (dFBr) 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(20):7259-7267.
des -Formylflustrabromine (dFBr; 1), perhaps the first selective positive allosteric modulator of α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptors, was deconstructed to determine which structural features contribute to its actions on receptors expressed in Xenopus ooycytes using 2-electrode voltage clamp techniques. Although the intact structure of 1 was found optimal, several deconstructed analogs retained activity. Neither the 6-bromo substituent nor the entire 2-position chain is required for activity. In particular, reduction of the olefinic side chain of 1, as seen with 6, not only resulted in retention of activity/potency but in enhanced selectivity for α4β2 versus α7 nACh receptors. Pharmacophoric features for the allosteric modulation of α4β2 nACh receptors by 1 were identified.
doi:10.1021/jm200834x
PMCID: PMC3200116  PMID: 21905680
4.  Allosteric modulators of the α4β2 subtype of Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;82(8):952-958.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are ligand-gated ion conducting transmembrane channels from the Cys-loop receptor super-family. The α4β2 subtype is the predominant heteromeric subtype of nicotinic receptors found in the brain. Allosteric modulators for α4β2 receptors interact at a site other than the orthosteric site where acetylcholine binds. Many compounds which act as allosteric modulators of the α4β2 receptors have been identified, with both positive and negative effects. Such allosteric modulators either increase or decrease the response induced by agonist on the α4β2 receptors. Here we discuss the concept of allosterism as it pertains to the α4β2 receptors and summarize the important features of allosteric modulators for this nicotinic receptor subtype.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2011.04.020
PMCID: PMC3162104  PMID: 21596025
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; Allosteric modulation; Positive allosteric modulators; Negative allosteric modulators
5.  Allosteric Modulator Desformylflustrabromine Relieves the Inhibition of α2β2 and α4β2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors by β-Amyloid1–42 Peptide 
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric transmembrane proteins that belong to the cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel family. These receptors are widely expressed in the brain and implicated in the pathophysiology of many neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where typical symptoms include the loss of cognitive function and dementia. The presence of extracellular neuritic plaques composed of β amyloid (Aβ1–42) peptide is a characteristic feature of AD. Desformylflustrabromine (dFBr) is a positive allosteric modulator (PAM) for α4β2 nAChRs since it increases peak ACh responses without inducing a response on its own. Previously, the effect of dFBr on the α2β2 nAChR subtype was not known. The action of dFBr was tested on α2β2 receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes. It was found that dFBr is also a PAM for the α2β2 receptor. Next we tested whether dFBr had any effect on the previously known block of both the α4β2 and α2β2 receptors by Aβ1–42. We found that the functional blockade of ACh-induced currents in oocytes expressing α4β2 and α2β2 receptors by Aβ1–42 was prevented by dFBr. We conclude that dFBr is a positive allosteric modulator for both α4β2 and α2β2 subtypes of nAChRs and that it also relieves the blockade of these receptors by Aβ1–42. This study demonstrates that PAMs for the non-α7 nAChRs have the potential to develop into clinically applicable drugs for AD and other disorders.
doi:10.1007/s12031-011-9509-3
PMCID: PMC3235685  PMID: 21424792
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Beta amyloid (Aβ1–42); Desformylflustrabromine (dFBr); Electrophysiology; Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs); Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs)
6.  A Structural and Mutagenic Blueprint for Molecular Recognition of Strychnine and d-Tubocurarine by Different Cys-Loop Receptors 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(3):e1001034.
Cys-loop receptors (CLR) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels that mediate fast excitatory or inhibitory transmission in the nervous system. Strychnine and d-tubocurarine (d-TC) are neurotoxins that have been highly instrumental in decades of research on glycine receptors (GlyR) and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), respectively. In this study we addressed the question how the molecular recognition of strychnine and d-TC occurs with high affinity and yet low specificity towards diverse CLR family members. X-ray crystal structures of the complexes with AChBP, a well-described structural homolog of the extracellular domain of the nAChRs, revealed that strychnine and d-TC adopt multiple occupancies and different ligand orientations, stabilizing the homopentameric protein in an asymmetric state. This introduces a new level of structural diversity in CLRs. Unlike protein and peptide neurotoxins, strychnine and d-TC form a limited number of contacts in the binding pocket of AChBP, offering an explanation for their low selectivity. Based on the ligand interactions observed in strychnine- and d-TC-AChBP complexes we performed alanine-scanning mutagenesis in the binding pocket of the human α1 GlyR and α7 nAChR and showed the functional relevance of these residues in conferring high potency of strychnine and d-TC, respectively. Our results demonstrate that a limited number of ligand interactions in the binding pocket together with an energetic stabilization of the extracellular domain are key to the poor selective recognition of strychnine and d-TC by CLRs as diverse as the GlyR, nAChR, and 5-HT3R.
Author Summary
Ligand-gated ion channels play an important role in fast electrochemical signaling in the brain. Cys-loop receptors are a class of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels that are activated by specific neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine (ACh), serotonin (5-HT), glycine (Gly), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Each type of cys-loop receptor contains an extracellular domain that specifically recognizes only one of these four neurotransmitters and opens an ion-conducting channel pore upon ligand binding. In this study, we investigated the poor specificity with which two potent neurotoxic inhibitors, namely strychnine and d-tubocurarine, are recognized by different cys-loop receptors. Using X-ray crystallography we solved 3-dimensional structures of strychnine or d-tubocurarine in complex with ACh binding protein (AChBP), a well-recognized structural homolog of the nicotinic ACh receptor. Based on ligand-receptor interactions observed in AChBP structures we designed mutant GlyR and α7 nAChR to identify hot spots in the binding pocket of these receptors that define potent inhibition by strychnine and d-tubocurarine, respectively. Combined, our results offer detailed understanding of the molecular recognition of antagonists that have high affinity but poor specificity for different cys-loop receptors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001034
PMCID: PMC3066128  PMID: 21468359

Results 1-6 (6)