Mutant cycle analysis of the active and desensitized states of an AMPA receptor induced by willardiines.

PMID 11041846


The halogenated willardiines are agonists at the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) subtype of glutamate receptors. Although they differ only by the nature of the halogen substituent, they display marked differences in their efficacy to activate the receptor channel opening and in causing desensitization. We have studied the origin of the different agonist properties of the willardiines and in particular the nature of the structural element within the receptor binding domain that is able to distinguish between willardiines at a subatomic resolution of 0.6 A (the difference in radius between F and Br) and allow (S)-5-fluorowillardiine to cause receptor desensitization much more than (S)-5-bromowillardiine. For this purpose, we analyzed, with the thermodynamic mutant cycle method, the active and desensitized states induced by the willardiines in the GluR1 subtype of AMPA receptors and GluR1 mutants in which residues E398, Y446, L646, and S650, within the agonist binding domain, were mutated. The results were used to generate a 3D model of the willardiine docking mode. We suggest that the active and desensitized states of the AMPA-R correspond, respectively, to the open-lobe and closed-lobe conformations of the agonist binding domain.