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The alphaM1 segment of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor exhibits conformational flexibility in a membrance environment

de Planque, M R R, Rijkers, D T S, Fletcher, J I, Liskamp, R M J and Separovic, F (2004) The alphaM1 segment of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor exhibits conformational flexibility in a membrance environment Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 1665, (1-2), pp. 40-47. (doi:10.1016/bbamem.2004.06.021).

Record type: Article


The transmembrane domain of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is predominantly ?-helical, and of the four distinctly different transmembrane M-segments, only the helicity of M1 is ambiguous. In this study, we have investigated the conformation of a membrane-embedded synthetic M1 segment by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods. A 35-residue peptide representing the extended ?M1 domain 206–240 of the Torpedo californica nAChR was synthesized with specific 13C- and 15N-labelled amino acids, and was incorporated in different phosphatidylcholine model membranes. The chemical shift of the isotopic labels was resolved by magic angle spinning (MAS) NMR and could be related to the secondary structure of the ?M1 analog at the labelled sites. Our results show that the membrane-embedded ?M1 segment forms an unstable ?-helix, particularly near residue Leu18 (?Leu223 in the entire nAChR). This non-helical tendency was most pronounced when the peptide was incorporated in fully hydrated phospholipid bilayers, with an estimated 40–50% of the peptides having an extended conformation at position Leu18. We propose that the conserved proline residue at position 16 in the ?M1 analog imparts a conformational flexibility on the M1 segments that could enable membrane-mediated modulation of nAChR activity.

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Published date: June 2004
Keywords: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, alphaMI transmembrane segment, Conformation, Phosphatidylcholine model membranes, Solid-state NMR
Organisations: Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology


Local EPrints ID: 264684
ISSN: 0006-3002
PURE UUID: 1ac5aa20-5e7a-4676-8315-7283fc85360a
ORCID for M R R de Planque: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 16 Oct 2007
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 07:33

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Author: D T S Rijkers
Author: J I Fletcher
Author: R M J Liskamp
Author: F Separovic

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