General anesthetic binding to neuronal alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and its effects on global dynamics.

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (Impact Factor: 3.61). 09/2009; 113(37):12581-9. DOI: 10.1021/jp9039513
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The neuronal alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is a target for general anesthetics. Currently available experimental structural information is inadequate to understand where anesthetics bind and how they modulate the receptor motions essential to function. Using our published open-channel structure model of alpha4beta2 nAChR, we identified and evaluated six amphiphilic interaction sites for the volatile anesthetic halothane via flexible ligand docking and subsequent 20-ns molecular dynamics simulations. Halothane binding energies ranged from -6.8 to -2.4 kcal/mol. The primary binding sites were located at the interface of extracellular and transmembrane domains, where halothane perturbed conformations of, and widened the gap among, the Cys loop, the beta1-beta2 loop, and the TM2-TM3 linker. The halothane with the highest binding affinity at the interface between the alpha4 and beta2 subunits altered interactions between the protein and nearby lipids by competing for hydrogen bonds. Gaussian network model analyses of the alpha4beta2 nAChR structures at the end of 20-ns simulations in the absence or presence of halothane revealed profound changes in protein residue mobility. The concerted motions critical to protein function were also perturbed considerably. Halothane's effect on protein dynamics was not confined to the residues adjacent to the binding sites, indicating an action on a more global scale.

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