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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acetylcholine and epibatidine binding to muscle acetylcholine receptors distinguish between concerted and uncoupled models.

The muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR) has served as a prototype for understanding allosteric mechanisms of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels. The phenomenon of cooperative agonist binding is described by the model of Monod et al. (Monod, J., Wyman, J., and Changeux, J. P. (1965) J. Mol. Biol. 12, 88-118; MWC model), which requires concerted switching of the two binding sites between low and high affinity states. The present study examines binding of acetylcholine (ACh) and epibatidine, agonists with opposite selectivity for the two binding sites of mouse muscle AChRs. We expressed either fetal or adult AChRs in 293 HEK cells and measured agonist binding by competition against the initial rate of 125I-alpha-bungarotoxin binding. We fit predictions of the MWC model to epibatidine and ACh binding data simultaneously, taking as constants previously determined parameters for agonist binding and channel gating steps, and varying the agonist-independent parameters. We find that the MWC model describes the apparent dissociation constants for both agonists but predicts Hill coefficients that are far too steep. An Uncoupled model, which relaxes the requirement of concerted state transitions, accurately describes binding of both ACh and epibatidine and provides parameters for agonist-independent steps consistent with known aspects of AChR function.[1]


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