A Unified Model of the GABA(A) Receptor Comprising Agonist and Benzodiazepine Binding Sites

Kristine Grønning Kongsbak, Rikke Bergmann, Pernille Louise Sørensen, Tommy Sander, Thomas Balle

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We present a full-length a1b2c2 GABA receptor model optimized for agonists and benzodiazepine (BZD) allosteric modulators. We propose binding hypotheses for the agonists GABA, muscimol and THIP and for the allosteric modulator diazepam (DZP). The receptor model is primarily based on the glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl) from C. elegans and includes additional structural information from the prokaryotic ligand-gated ion channel ELIC in a few regions. Available mutational data of the binding sites are well explained by the model and the proposed ligand binding poses. We suggest a GABA binding mode similar to the binding mode of glutamate in the GluCl X-ray structure. Key interactions are predicted with residues a1R66, b2T202, a1T129, b2E155, b2Y205 and the backbone of b2S156. Muscimol is predicted to bind similarly, however, with minor differences rationalized with quantum mechanical energy calculations. Muscimol key interactions are predicted to be a1R66, b2T202, a1T129, b2E155, b2Y205 and b2F200. Furthermore, we argue that a water molecule could mediate further interactions between muscimol and the backbone of b2S156 and b2Y157. DZP is predicted to bind with
interactions comparable to those of the agonists in the orthosteric site. The carbonyl group of DZP is predicted to interact with two threonines a1T206 and c2T142, similar to the acidic moiety of GABA. The chlorine atom of DZP is placed near the important a1H101 and the N-methyl group near a1Y159, a1T206, and a1Y209. We present a binding mode of DZP in which the pending phenyl moiety of DZP is buried in the binding pocket and thus shielded from solvent exposure. Our full length GABAA receptor is made available as Model S1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e52323
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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