The EMBO journal

Direct association of ligand-binding and pore domains in homo- and heterotetrameric inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors.

PMID 11032812


Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP(3)Rs) are a family of intracellular Ca(2+) channels that exist as homo- or heterotetramers. In order to determine whether the N-terminal ligand-binding domain is in close physical proximity to the C-terminal pore domain, we prepared microsomal membranes from COS-7 cells expressing recombinant type I and type III IP(3)R isoforms. Trypsin digestion followed by cross-linking and co-immunoprecipitation of peptide fragments suggested an inter-subunit N- and C-terminal interaction in both homo- and heterotetramers. This observation was further supported by the ability of in vitro translated C-terminal peptides to interact specifically with an N-terminal fusion protein. Using a (45)Ca(2+) flux assay, we provide functional evidence that the ligand-binding domain of one subunit can gate the pore domain of an adjacent subunit. We conclude that common structural motifs are shared between the type I and type III IP(3)Rs and propose that the gating mechanism of IP(3)R Ca(2+) channels involves the association of the N-terminus of one subunit with the C-terminus of an adjacent subunit in both homo- and heterotetrameric complexes.