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The startle disease mutation Q266H, in the second transmembrane domain of the human glycine receptor, impairs channel gating


Hyperekplexia (startle disease) results from mutations in the glycine receptor chloride channel that disrupt inhibitory synaptic transmission. The Q266H missense mutation is the only hyperekplexia mutation located in the transmembrane domains of the receptor. Using recombinant expression and patch-clamping techniques, we have investigated the functional properties of this mutation. The ability of glycine and taurine to open the channel was reduced in the mutated channel, as shown by a 6-fold shift in the concentration-response curve for both agonists. This was not accompanied by similar changes in agonist displacement of strychnine binding, suggesting that the mutation affects functions subsequent to ligand binding. Taurine was also converted to a weak partial agonist and antagonized the actions of glycine, consistent with changes in its channel gating efficacy. Because the Q266H mutation is within the pore-forming second transmembrane domain, we tested for a direct interaction with permeating ions. No change in either the cation/anion selectivity ratio or in single channel conductance levels was observed. No differential effects of Zn++, pH, and diethylpyrocarbonate were observed, implying that the histidine side chain is not exposed to the channel lumen. Single-channel recordings revealed a significant reduction in open times in the mutant receptors, at both high and low agonist concentrations, consistent with the open state of the channel being less stable. This study demonstrates that residues within the second transmembrane domain of ligand-gated ion channel receptors, even those whose side chains do not directly interact with permeating ions, can affect the kinetics of channel gating.

Type Journal
ISBN 0026-895X (Print)
Authors Moorhouse, A. J.;Jacques, P.;Barry, P. H.;Schofield, P. R. :
Published Date 1999-01-01
Published Volume 55
Published Issue 2
Published Pages 386-95
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version