Acetylcholine receptor channel structure probed in cysteine-substitution mutants

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Science  09 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5080, pp. 307-310
DOI: 10.1126/science.1384130


In order to understand the structural bases of ion conduction, ion selectivity, and gating in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, mutagenesis and covalent modification were combined to identify the amino acid residues that line the channel. The side chains of alternate residues--Ser248, Leu250, Ser252, and Thr254--in M2, a membrane-spanning segment of the alpha subunit, are exposed in the closed channel. Thus alpha 248-254 probably forms a beta strand, and the gate is closer to the cytoplasmic end of the channel than any of these residues. On channel opening, Leu251 is also exposed. These results lead to a revised view of the closed and open channel structures.