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1.  Taste substance binding elicits conformational change of taste receptor T1r heterodimer extracellular domains 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:25745.
Sweet and umami tastes are perceived by T1r taste receptors in oral cavity. T1rs are class C G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and the extracellular ligand binding domains (LBDs) of T1r1/T1r3 and T1r2/T1r3 heterodimers are responsible for binding of chemical substances eliciting umami or sweet taste. However, molecular analyses of T1r have been hampered due to the difficulties in recombinant expression and protein purification, and thus little is known about mechanisms for taste perception. Here we show the first molecular view of reception of a taste substance by a taste receptor, where the binding of the taste substance elicits a different conformational state of T1r2/T1r3 LBD heterodimer. Electron microscopy has showed a characteristic dimeric structure. Förster resonance energy transfer and X-ray solution scattering have revealed the transition of the dimerization manner of the ligand binding domains, from a widely spread to compactly organized state upon taste substance binding, which may correspond to distinct receptor functional states.
doi:10.1038/srep25745
PMCID: PMC4861910  PMID: 27160511
2.  Crystal structures of Lymnaea stagnalis AChBP in complex with neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid and clothianidin 
Invertebrate Neuroscience   2008;8(2):71-81.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, which act on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in a variety of ways, have extremely low mammalian toxicity, yet the molecular basis of such actions is poorly understood. To elucidate the molecular basis for nAChR–neonicotinoid interactions, a surrogate protein, acetylcholine binding protein from Lymnaea stagnalis (Ls-AChBP) was crystallized in complex with neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid (IMI) or clothianidin (CTD). The crystal structures suggested that the guanidine moiety of IMI and CTD stacks with Tyr185, while the nitro group of IMI but not of CTD makes a hydrogen bond with Gln55. IMI showed higher binding affinity for Ls-AChBP than that of CTD, consistent with weaker CH–π interactions in the Ls-AChBP–CTD complex than in the Ls-AChBP–IMI complex and the lack of the nitro group-Gln55 hydrogen bond in CTD. Yet, the NH at position 1 of CTD makes a hydrogen bond with the backbone carbonyl of Trp143, offering an explanation for the diverse actions of neonicotinoids on nAChRs.
doi:10.1007/s10158-008-0069-3
PMCID: PMC2413115  PMID: 18338186
Acetylcholine binding protein (Lymnaea stagnalis); Crystal structures; Neonicotinoids; Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; Ion channels

Results 1-2 (2)