Palma E, Mileo AM, Eusebi F, Miledi R

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1996 Oct 1;93(20):11231–5

A study was made of the effects of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT) on homomeric neuronal nicotinic receptors (nAcChoR) expressed in Xenopus oocytes after injection of cDNA encoding the wild-type chicken alpha(7) subunit. Acetylcholine (AcCho) elicited large currents (IAcCho) that were reduced by 5HT in a reversible and dose-dependent manner, with a half-inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 56 microM and a Hill coefficient (nH) of 1.2. The inhibition of IAcCho by 5HT was noncompetitive and voltage independent, a behavior incompatible with a channel blockade mechanism. 5HT alone did not elicit membrane currents in oocytes injected with the wild-type alpha(7) subunit cDNA. In contrast, 5HT elicited membrane currents (I5HT) in oocytes injected with cDNA encoding an alpha(7) mutant subunit with a threonine-for-leucine-247 substitution (L247T alpha(7)). I5HT was inhibited by the potent nicotinic receptor blockers alpha-bungarotoxin (100 nM) and methyllycaconitine (1 microM). Furthermore, the characteristics of I5HT, including its voltage dependence, were similar to those of IAcCho. The 5HT dose-I5HT response gave an apparent dissociation constant EC50 of 23.5 microM and a Hill coefficient nH of 1.7, which were not modified by the presence of AcCho. Similarly, the apparent affinity of L247T alpha(7) for AcCho as well as its cooperativity were not influenced by 5HT, indicating a lack of mutual interactions between 5HT and AcCho. These results show that 5HT is a potent noncompetitive antagonist of neuronal alpha(7) nAcChoR, but it becomes a noncompetitive agonist following mutation of the highly conserved leucine residue 247 located in the channel domain M2.