Article

Potentiation of alpha7-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by select albumins.

Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.
Molecular Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.12). 03/2003; 63(2):419-28.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

0 Followers
 · 
65 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes, an abundant form of glia, are known to promote and modulate synaptic signaling between neurons. They also express α7-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7-nAChRs), but the functional relevance of these receptors is unknown. We show here that stimulation of α7-nAChRs on astrocytes releases components that induce hippocampal neurons to acquire more AMPA receptors postsynaptically at glutamatergic synapses. The increase is specific in that no change is seen in synaptic NMDA receptor clusters or other markers for glutamatergic synapses, or in markers for GABAergic synapses. Moreover, the increases in AMPA receptors on the neuron surface are accompanied by increases in the frequency of spontaneous miniature synaptic currents mediated by the receptors and increases in the ratio of evoked synaptic currents mediated by AMPA vs. NMDA receptors. This suggests that stimulating α7-nAChRs on astrocytes can convert "silent" glutamatergic synapses to functional status. Astrocyte-derived thrombospondin is necessary but not sufficient for the effect, while tumor necrosis factor-α is sufficient but not necessary. The results identify astrocyte α7-nAChRs as a novel pathway through which nicotinic cholinergic signaling can promote the development of glutamatergic networks, recruiting AMPA receptors to postsynaptic sites and rendering the synapses more functional. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 08/2013; DOI:10.1111/jnc.12436 · 4.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [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 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [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 · 3.53 Impact Factor