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

Neuroactive steroid interactions with voltage-dependent anion channels: lack of relationship to GABA(A) receptor modulation and anesthesia.

Neuroactive steroids modulate the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptors in brain; this is the presumed basis of their action as anesthetics. In a previous study using the neuroactive steroid analog, (3alpha,5beta)-6-azi-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (6-AziP), as a photoaffinity-labeling reagent, we showed that voltage-dependent anion channel-1 (VDAC-1) was the predominant protein labeled in brain. Antisera to VDAC-1 were shown to coimmunoprecipitate GABA(A) receptors, suggesting a functional relationship between steroid binding to VDAC-1 and modulation of GABA(A) receptor function. This study examines the contribution of steroid binding to VDAC proteins to modulation of GABA(A) receptor function and anesthesia. Photolabeling of 35-kDa protein with [(3)H]6-AziP was reduced 85% in brain membranes prepared from VDAC-1-deficient mice but was unaffected by deficiency of VDAC-3. The photolabeled 35-kDa protein in membranes from VDAC-1-deficient mice was identified by two-dimensional electrophoresis and electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry as VDAC-2. The absence of VDAC-1 or VDAC-3 had no effect on the ability of neuroactive steroids to modulate GABA(A) receptor function as evidenced by radioligand ([(35)S] t-butylbicyclophosphorothionate) binding or by electrophysiological studies. Electrophysiological studies also showed that neuroactive steroids modulate GABA(A) receptor function normally in VDAC-2-deficient fibroblasts transfected with alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2) GABA(A) receptor subunits. Finally, the neuroactive steroid pregnanolone [(3alpha,5beta)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one] produced anesthesia (loss of righting reflex) in VDAC-1- and VDAC-3-deficient mice, and there was no difference in the recovery time between the VDAC-deficient mice and wild-type controls. These data indicate that neuroactive steroid binding to VDAC-1, -2, or -3 is unlikely to mediate GABA(A) receptor modulation or anesthesia.[1]


  1. Neuroactive steroid interactions with voltage-dependent anion channels: lack of relationship to GABA(A) receptor modulation and anesthesia. Darbandi-Tonkabon, R., Manion, B.D., Hastings, W.R., Craigen, W.J., Akk, G., Bracamontes, J.R., He, Y., Sheiko, T.V., Steinbach, J.H., Mennerick, S.J., Covey, D.F., Evers, A.S. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. (2004) [Pubmed]
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