Nicotinic receptors containing alpha7 subunits are ligand-gated ion channels widely distributed in the nervous system; they influence a diverse array of events because of their high relative calcium permeability. We show here that nicotine-induced whole-cell responses generated by such receptors can be dramatically potentiated in a rapidly reversible manner by some but not all albumins. The potentiation involves increases both in potency and efficacy with no obvious differences in rise and fall times of the response. The potentiation is not reduced by removing absorbed components; it is abolished by proteolysis, suggesting that the albumin protein backbone is essential. The fact that some albumins are ineffective indicates that minor differences in amino acid sequence may be critical. Experiments with open channel blockers indicate that the potentiation involves increased responses from active receptors rather than recruitment of receptors from a previously silent pool. Single channel recordings reveal that the potentiation correlates with increased single channel opening probability, reflected in increased frequency of channel opening and increased mean channel open time. The potentiation can be exploited to overcome blockade by noncompetitive inhibitors such as beta-amyloid peptide. The results raise the possibility that endogenous compounds use the site to modulate receptor function in vivo, and suggest that the receptors may represent useful targets for therapeutic intervention in cases where they have been implicated in neuropathologies such as Alzheimer's disease.
"For cell lines expressing α4β2 and α3β4 AChRs, the cells were plated at 105 cells/ml (100 µl/well) in black-walled clear-bottom 96 well plates (Costar, Fisher Scientific, Pittsbugh, PA), and incubated for 48 hours prior to assaying responses to various nicotinic agonists. The α7/RIC-3 expressing cells were plated at 5×105/ml in black-walled clear-bottom 96 well BioCoat plates (BD Biosciences, Franklin Lakes, NJ) in the continued presence of VPA and PBA, with the addition of 5% human AB serum (Pel-Freez Biologicals, Rogers, AR) to further increase expression of α7 . The cells were then grown for 24 hours prior to the assay. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The behavioral effects of nicotine and other nicotinic agonists are mediated by AChRs in the brain. The relative contribution of acute activation versus chronic desensitization of AChRs is unknown. Sustained "smoldering activation" occurs over a range of agonist concentrations at which activated and desensitized AChRs are present in equilibrium. We used a fluorescent dye sensitive to changes in membrane potential to examine the effects of acute activation and chronic desensitization by nicotinic AChR agonists on cell lines expressing human α4β2, α3β4 and α7 AChRs. We examined the effects of acute and prolonged application of nicotine and the partial agonists varenicline, cytisine and sazetidine-A on these AChRs. The range of concentrations over which nicotine causes smoldering activation of α4β2 AChRs was centered at 0.13 µM, a level found in smokers. However, nicotine produced smoldering activation of α3β4 and α7 AChRs at concentrations well above levels found in smokers. The α4β2 expressing cell line contains a mixture of two stoichiometries, namely (α4β2)2β2 and (α4β2)2α4. The (α4β2)2β2 stoichiometry is more sensitive to activation by nicotine. Sazetidine-A activates and desensitizes only this stoichiometry. Varenicline, cytisine and sazetidine-A were partial agonists on this mixture of α4β2 AChRs, but full agonists on α3β4 and α7 AChRs. It has been reported that cytisine and varenicline are most efficacious on the (α4β2)2α4 stoichiometry. In this study, we distinguish the dual effects of activation and desensitization of AChRs by these nicotinic agonists and define the range of concentrations over which smoldering activation can be sustained.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e79653. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079653 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"However, increasing the incubation temperature to 42°C decreased expression by 63±10%. Serum albumins from some species were found to increase the function of α7 AChRs in ciliary ganglion neurons . Therefore, we cultured the α7/RIC-3 cell line in increasing concentrations of fetal bovine serum over the range from 1% to 10%, which resulted in increased 125I αBgt binding (data not shown). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) do not assemble efficiently in cells transfected with α7 subunits unless the cells are also transfected with the chaperone protein RIC-3. Despite the presence of RIC-3, large amounts of these subunits remain improperly assembled. Thus, additional chaperone proteins are probably required for efficient assembly of α7 AChRs. Cholinergic ligands can act as pharmacological chaperones to promote assembly of mature AChRs and upregulate the amount of functional AChRs. In addition, we have found that the chemical chaperones 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) and valproic acid (VPA) greatly increase the amount of functional α7 AChRs produced in a cell line expressing both α7 and RIC-3. Increased α7 AChR expression allows assay of drug action using a membrane potential-sensitive fluorescent indicator. Both PBA and VPA also increase α7 expression in the SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line that endogenously expresses α7 AChRs. VPA increases expression of endogenous α7 AChRs in hippocampal neurons but PBA does not. RIC-3 is insufficient for optimal assembly of α7 AChRs, but provides assay conditions for detecting additional chaperones. Chemical chaperones are a useful pragmatic approach to express high levels of human α7 AChRs for drug selection and characterization and possibly to increase α7 expression in vivo.
PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e62246. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0062246 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"This may occur through increases or decreases of the impact of identified endogenous negative regulators or potentially by alterations in positive modulators. While as yet no endogenous positive modulators have been clearly identified in brain systems, the positive modulatory effects for agents such as certain serum albumins (e.g., BSA) (Conroy et al., 2003) and 5-hydrox-indole (Zwart et al., 2002) make it seem likely that such agents may exist in the brain or alternatively be developed as a new therapeutic approach for improving and maintaining cholinergic function in the aging or diseased brain. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hippocampus receives substantial input from the medial septum/diagonal band of broca (MS/DB) via the fibria-fornix (FF). Projections from the MS/DB innervate hippocampal interneurons that express alpha7 nicotinic receptors and regulate excitation in principal cell populations. In the present report we used stereotaxic surgery, whole-cell patch clamping, and immunohistochemical techniques to evaluate the effects of FF and MS/DB lesions on alpha7 nicotinic receptors in stratum radiatum interneurons. Focal somatic application of ACh (1 mM) evoked methyllycaconitine (MLA)-sensitive currents that were markedly reduced following aspirative lesions of the FF. Reductions in current amplitudes were prevented or restored to levels not significantly different from controls following in vivo treatment with the alpha7-selective agonist GTS-21, and GTS-21 treatment did not change current amplitudes measured in tissue from unlesioned animals. MS/DB injections of the selective cholinergic neurotoxin 192 IgG-saporin did not affect alpha7 receptor currents, although MS/DB ChAT and hippocampal AChE immunolabeling were significantly reduced. In contrast, kainic acid lesions of the MS/DB, potentially more selective for GABAergic projection neurons, produced significant reductions in current amplitudes. These findings are the first to show functional changes in alpha7 receptors following hippocampal denervation and suggest that MS/DB hippocampal innervation regulates functional aspects of hippocampal alpha7 receptors. The results confirm hippocampal alpha7 nicotinic receptors as viable therapeutic targets in diseases that involve degradation of the septohippocampal pathway and may indicate that GABAergic MS/DB hippocampal input plays a more substantial role in the regulation of alpha7 nicotinic receptor function than MS/DB hippocampal cholinergic input.
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