Snake toxins with high selectivity for subtypes of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors
2000 (English)In: Biochimie, ISSN 0300-9084, E-ISSN 1638-6183, Vol. 82, no 9-10, 793-806 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
There are five subtypes of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (M-1 to M-5) which control a large number of physiological processes, such as the function of heart and smooth muscles, glandular secretion, release of neurotransmitters, gene expression and cognitive functions as learning and memory. A selective ligand is very useful for studying the function of a subtype in presence of other subtypes, which is the most common situation, since a cell or an organ usually has several subtypes. There are many non-selective muscarinic ligands, but only few selective ones. Mambas, African snakes of genus Dendroaspis have toxins, muscarinic toxins, that are selective for M-1, M-2 and M-4 receptors. They consist of 63-66 amino acids and four disulfides which form four loops. They are members of a large group of snake toxins, three-finger toxins; three loops are extended like the middle fingers of a hand and the disulfides and the shortest loop are in the palm of the hand. Some of the toxins target the allosteric site which is located in a cleft of the receptor molecule close to its extracellular part. A possible explanation to the good selectivity is that the toxins bind to the allosteric site, but because of their size they probably also bind to extracellular parts of the receptors which are rather different in the various subtypes. Some other allosteric ligands also have good selectivity, the alkaloid brucine and derivatives are selective for M-1, M-3 and M-4 receptors. Muscarinic toxins have been used in several types of experiments. For instance radioactively labeled M-1 and M-4 selective toxins were used in autoradiography of hippocampus from Alzheimer patients. One significant change in the receptor content was detected in one region of the hippocampus, dentate gyrus, where M-4 receptors were reduced by 50% in patients as compared to age-matched controls. Hippocampus is essential for memory consolidation. M-4 receptors in dentate gyrus may play a role, since they decreased in Alzheimers disease which destroys the memory. Another indication of the role of M-4 receptors for memory is that injection of the M-4 selective antagonist muscarinic toxin 3 (M-4-toxin 1) into rat hippocampus produced amnesia.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 82, no 9-10, 793-806 p.
snake toxins, muscarinic receptor subtypes, selectivity, mamba dendroaspis-angusticeps, amino-acid-sequence, potassium channels, calcium-channel, smooth-muscle, messenger-rna, high-affinity, venom, binding, rat
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-20213ISI: 000165789900002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-20213DiVA: diva2:338906
QC 201005252010-08-102010-08-10Bibliographically approved