Journal Article

Molecular function of the novel α7β2 nicotinic receptor


The α7 nicotinic receptor is a promising drug target for neurological and inflammatory disorders. Although it is the homomeric member of the family, a novel α7β2 heteromeric receptor has been discovered. To decipher the functional contribution of the β2 subunit, we generated heteromeric receptors with fixed stoichiometry by two different approaches comprising concatenated and unlinked subunits. Receptors containing up to three β2 subunits are functional. As the number of β2 subunits increases in the pentameric arrangement, the durations of channel openings and activation episodes increase progressively probably due to decreased desensitization. The prolonged activation episodes conform the kinetic signature of α7β2 and may have an impact on neuronal excitability. For activation of α7β2 receptors, an α7/α7 binding-site interface is required, thus indicating that the three β2 subunits are located consecutively in the pentameric arrangement. α7 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) are emerging as novel therapeutic drugs. The presence of β2 in the pentamer affects neither type II PAM potentiation nor activation by an allosteric agonist whereas it impairs type I PAM potentiation. This first single-channel study provides fundamental basis required to decipher the role and function of the novel α7β2 receptor and opens doors to develop selective therapeutic drugs.

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Neilsen, Beatriz E.
Minguez, Teresa
Bermudez, Isabel
Bouzat, Cecilia

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-01-18

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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