Intracellular domains of the delta-subunits of Torpedo and rat acetylcholine receptors--expression, purification, and characterization

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Abstract

There are quite detailed structural data on the extracellular ligand-binding domain and the intramembrane channel-forming domain of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR). However, the structure of the intracellular domain, which has variable amino acid sequences in different nAChR subunits, remains unknown. We expressed in Escherichia coli the intracellular loops (between transmembrane fragments TM3 and TM4) of the δ-subunits from the Torpedo californica and Rattus norvegicus muscle nAChRs. To facilitate purification, (His)6-tags were attached with or without linkers, and the effects of protein truncations at C- or N-termini were examined. The proteins were purified from inclusion bodies under denaturing conditions by Ni–NTA-chromatography. Molecular weight and peptide mass fingerprint was determined by MALDI mass spectrometry. Size-exclusion chromatography revealed that the Torpedo intracellular δ-loop refolded in an aqueous buffer was present in solution as a dimer. Phosphorylation of this protein with protein kinase A and tyrosine kinase (Abl) occurred at the same serine and tyrosine residues as in the native receptor. According to CD spectra, the secondary structure was not sensitive to phosphorylation. The rat intracellular loops could be solubilized only in the presence of non-ionic detergents or lipids. CD spectra indicate that the Torpedo and rat proteins have differences in their secondary structure. In the presence of dodecylphosphocholine, high concentrations (up to 6 mg/ml) of the Torpedo and rat intracellular loops were achieved. The results suggest that the spatial structure of the intracellular loops is dependent on environment and species, but is not changed significantly upon enzymatic phosphorylation.

Details

Authors
  • Denise Kottwitz
  • Viktoria Kukhtina
  • Natalia Dergousova
  • Timophey Alexeev
  • Yuri Utkin
  • Victor Tsetlin
  • Ferdinand Hucho
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-247
JournalProtein Expression and Purification
Volume2
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes