Agonist trapped in ATP-binding sites of the P2X2 receptor
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2011, 108(22): 9066-9071.
ATP-gated P2X receptors are trimeric ion channels, as recently confirmed by X-ray crystallography. However, the structure was solved without ATP and even though extracellular intersubunit cavities surrounded by conserved amino acid residues previously shown to be important for ATP function were proposed to house ATP, the localization of the ATP sites remains elusive. Here we localize the ATP-binding sites by creating, through a proximity-dependent "tethering" reaction, covalent bonds between a synthesized ATP-derived thiol-reactive P2X2 agonist (NCS-ATP) and single cysteine mutants engineered in the putative binding cavities of the P2X2 receptor. By combining whole-cell and single-channel recordings, we report that NCS-ATP covalently and specifically labels two previously unidentified positions N140 and L186 from two adjacent subunits separated by about 18 angstrom in a P2X2 closed state homology model, suggesting the existence of at least two binding modes. Tethering reaction at both positions primes subsequent agonist binding, yet with distinct functional consequences. Labeling of one position impedes subsequent ATP function, which results in inefficient gating, whereas tethering of the other position, although failing to produce gating by itself, enhances subsequent ATP function. Our results thus define a large and dynamic intersubunit ATP-binding pocket and suggest that receptors trapped in covalently agonist-bound states differ in their ability to gate the ion channel.
affinity labeling; chemical modification; purinergic receptor